When I first visited the Bodleian Library in Oxford as part of an FE College outreach programme for History teachers, I was tickled by the process we had to go through in order to get a reader’s ticket to the famous book collection. Part of the process was to ‘vow not to kindle a flame within the precincts of the building’. This was in the year 2001 when fires were no longer permitted in such places. Now, it wasn’t just signing a piece of paper to make this promise – we had to do that but only after making the vow verbally to a man wearing a long black academic gown. Subsequent visits, as a fully fledged historian doing independent research, I’ve only had to sign a document with the library rules (including kindling of fires) before being re-issued my card.
So, when this tweet passed through my tweet stream, I just couldn’t resist adding it to my quirky Library Rules collection – it is now a collection: all of 2. I must add the university to my places to visit.
Threat of excommunication to thieves of books in the library of the University of Salamanca (Spain). pic.twitter.com/hgALXD0Vws
— Bibliophilia (@Libroantiguo) 8 January 2017
The Bodleian Library (Africa Collection) has been most helpful in a number of books and articles I’ve written/edited:
Norman Parsons Jewell – On Call in Africa
Where Fact and Fiction Intercept: The story of The African Queen(s) by CS Forester
World War 1 in Africa: The Forgotten Conflict of the European Powers
We need to save our libraries and not just for quirky rules, without them I wouldn’t be where I am today.
Thanks Pablo for the image