Weston Library

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Weston Library
Weston Library Exterior by John Cairns 20.3.15-27.jpg
View of the library building.
CountryUnited Kingdom
TypeAcademic library
Established2015 (2015)
LocationBroad Street, Oxford
Items collectedBooks, journals, newspapers, magazines, sound and music recordings, maps, prints, drawings and manuscripts
Access and use
Access requirementsBy reader card for the library itself. The Blackwell Hall, two exhibition rooms, a gift shop, and cafe are open to the public.
MembersStudents and fellows of University of Oxford
Weston Library is located in Oxford city centre
Weston Library
Weston Library
Location of the Weston Library within central Oxford

The Weston Library is part of the Bodleian Library, the main research library of the University of Oxford, reopened within the former New Bodleian Library building on the corner of Broad Street and Parks Road in central Oxford, England.


The New Bodleian Library in November 2011 while closed during major refurbishment to create the Weston Library

From 1937 to 1940, Sir Giles Gilbert Scott worked on the New Bodleian Library, in Broad Street, Oxford. It is not generally considered his finest work. Needing to provide storage for millions of books without building higher than the surrounding structures, Scott devised a construction going deep into the earth, behind two elevations no higher than those around them.[1] His biographer A. S. G. Butler commented, "In an attempt to be polite to these – which vary from late Gothic to Victorian Tudor – Scott produced a not very impressive neo-Jacobean design".[1] A later biographer, Gavin Stamp, praises the considerable technical achievement of keeping the building low in scale by building underground, but agrees that aesthetically the building is not among Scott's most successful designs.[2] Nikolaus Pevsner dismisses it as "neither one thing nor the other".[3]

The building was constructed of Bladon stone with Clipsham dressings and was opened by King George VI.[4] The Rockefeller Foundation donated 60% of the £1 million cost for the new library building. It included administrative and reading rooms, together with an 11-storey bookstack beneath the building. This was connected with the original Bodleian Library underground by a conveyor belt system for books. It is still possible to walk underground between the Radcliffe Camera and the new library building.

In the early 21st century, the building was rebuilt internally behind its original façade to provide improved storage facilities for rare and fragile material, as well as better facilities for readers and visitors.[5] It reopened to readers as the Weston Library on 21 March 2015.[6] Richard Ovenden (Bodley's Librarian) awarded the Bodley Medal to Professor Stephen Hawking and Sir David Attenborough as part of the official opening ceremony.

The transformed library has been generally well-received, being described as a "hey presto moment for the city" by The Independent newspaper.[7]

In July 2016, the building was shortlisted for the Stirling Prize for excellence in architecture.[8]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Butler, A. S. G. Scott, Sir Giles Gilbert. Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 22 June 2012. (subscription required)
  2. ^ Stamp, Gavin. Scott, Sir Giles Gilbert (1880–1960). Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 21 June 2012. (subscription required)
  3. ^ Pevsner, Nikolaus; Jennifer Sherwood (1974). Buildings of England Volume 45: Oxfordshire. Harmondsworth: Penguin. p. 253. ISBN 0140710450.
  4. ^ Hibbert, Christopher, ed. (1988). "New Bodleian Library". The Encyclopaedia of Oxford. Macmillan. p. 269. ISBN 0-333-39917-X.
  5. ^ Oxford University Library Services: “Buildings Update”, accessed 10 February 2007. See also New Bodleian, accessed 2009-12-28.
  6. ^ "Weston Library opens to academics after £80m revamp". BBC News. UK: BBC. 29 September 2014. Retrieved 1 October 2014.
  7. ^ Merrick, Jay (15 March 2015). "Oxford's New Bodleian Library has had a radical modernist makeover". The Independent. UK. Retrieved 29 April 2016.
  8. ^ "Damien Hirst gallery and underground house among Riba Stirling Prize nominees". BBC News. 14 July 2016.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°45′18″N 1°15′18″W / 51.755°N 1.255°W / 51.755; -1.255