BODLEY came into the news royally last month when the King opened the extension. This had been ready early in the war, but was too attractive to the Government as refuge offices to be allowed to be used for its own work. It rendered excellent war service, not all of it quite unconnected with library work. Now it stands as the first considerable library building to come into action in the postwar era. It is significant that the Bodleian, from the days of the Founder, has always been pressed for space and its experiments in underground storage and in bookcases on rails, packed like the drawers in a cupboard have been useful to many other libraries. One of the newspapers tells us that the new building has solved the problem of storage for two hundred years. This is an interesting attempt at prophecy. There is no library building on a great scale in England, except the Bodleian, which has survived in its original form for even a hundred years and we may safely leave the librarians of two centuries hence with the conviction that no building devised today will, unaltered, continue to satisfy their needs. It is one of the disturbing certainties that libraries will continue to grow beyond the expectations of any present moment now or hereafter. Meanwhile we rejoice with Oxford that at least one of our national libraries is for the present housed adequately.
New Library World – Emerald Publishing
Published: Oct 1, 1946
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