Research Travel 2018—The Bodleian Library at Oxford

Famously this library has appeared in a number of films, including Harry Potter (more to come on that). It houses the book that inspired J. R. R. Tolkien’s Red Book of Westmarch about the Lord of the Rings, The Red Book of Hergest. It is also the main study library of Oxford.

The old building, still housing books, is called the Radcliffe Camera, which once upon a time housed Biblical Studies reference material. Now, it houses history. Across the way, accessed by either above-ground street and grass or by underground tunnel, is the main library. In between, is the quod, which holds entry ways and a gift shop.

I will be spending my study time on the second floor (called the lower level).

Of Hobbits and Wizards

Hobbits, elves, dwarves, and literary professors

The current library exhibit honors J. R. R. Tolkien. I did not realize that Tolkien drew his own illustrations. The exhibit was very creative (no photographs allowed!).

A library fit for a wizard

After viewing the exhibit, I entered the library to study. I sat first in Duke Humphrey’s library, where very old books are stored in shelves adjacent to work desks. This antique library served as a set for Harry Potter in the first two movies. It is extremely secure. I had to check my pack into a locker and only allowed to bring my computer. No food or drink or writing utensils. Access is granted only by special admission. A reader’s card which I obtained as a UK student grants me access. It was checked at two points of entry. The books at my study desk are alarm-bound so that any touch or movement will draw the attention of a librarian.

A Medieval Town

Apparently, a suburb sprung up in the Middle Ages, in which some of the residences still stand today. Nearby is the shop where Lewis Carroll’s little friend Alice Liddell bought her hard sugar candies. The shop is immortalized in Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland as “The Sheep Shop”. Presently, it is a gift shop that celebrates the literature. And across the street is Christ Church College.

Also went by the Oxford Castle, which features a prison that held infamous historical figures. I didn’t go on the tour, so … Wikipedia it!

Pub Tour Continued

The Bear claims to be Oxford’s oldest pub. Est. 1212.