A Toast to the Bodleian

A Toast to the Bodleian

About last week, I’m sorry to have startled you. Library earthquakes used to be a rare occurrence. If they happened at all, it was because a careless dragon took flight in a no-fly zone. However, as Head Librarian, I must inform you that these quakes are increasing in frequency and it isn’t because of carelessness or rule breaking. It’s because of contentions between two growing factions in the dragon world: those who believe in humans, and those that don’t. Most don’t, of course. But it only takes one outspoken dragon who does believe in humans to start a heated argument (and I mean that literally). That’s what caused the shake last week and why you were asked to leave so quickly. No one is safe near two dragons in

When Bookshelves Became a Thing

When Bookshelves Became a Thing

All right, I know our last time travel trip to 1550 was a little discouraging (all the books had been robbed out of Oxford’s Bodleian library), but I promise you today’s trip will be full of the new and optimistic. We’re visiting the Bodleian in the year 1612, and by this time the library will be refurbished and reopened to students. The man responsible for the library’s turn of fortune is Thomas Bodley, the library’s namesake. I’ll tell you more about him when we get there. Are you ready to go? Good. Brace yourself… Suhzapp! Careful, we’ve landed on a bit of uneven ground. The paving in this area won’t be installed for another three years when it becomes the library’s quadrangle. But let’s take a look at the front

The Dawn of a Library

The Dawn of a Library

This, my library card-carrying friends, is the first entry in the Great Libraries Folio. What is the Great Libraries Folio? I’ll tell you. It’s a book we’ll create together as we explore the great libraries of the past and present. I believe this is an apt endeavor for two reasons. In the first place, you must like libraries if you’re brave enough to come to a library full of dragons. And second, you seem the time-traveling type. Now, there are centuries’ worth of wandering aisles and musty shelves in our future, and there’s no way we have the energy to go tramping through them all at once—no matter how stout our hearts. Therefore, we must uncover each library’s secrets one at a time. That in