Bodleian Libraries join Future Cities Forum's September 'Cultural Cities'



Richard Ovenden, Chief Librarian - Bodleian Libraries (by John Cairns)



Future Cities Forum is delighted that the Bodley's Librarian, Richard Ovenden, will join our 'Cultural Cities' panel discussion with the DCMS in September. This is the fourth in our 2021 series examining how the cultural sector across the UK and Europe is adapting to the changes in behaviour and building use accelerated by the pandemic. As the Bodley's Librarian, Richard oversees the Bodleian Libraries' 28 libraries across the University of Oxford and a major book depository in Swindon.


In 2015 the Weston Library was opened in Broad Street Oxford after a major reworking of the 1930s New Bodleian Library - which was built to house 2.5 million volumes of the Bodleian's special collections. The re-modelled building encloses new public spaces including a spacious atrium, cafe and exhibition galleries.


Richard Ovenden has been Bodley’s Librarian (the senior Executive position of the Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford) since 2014. Prior to that he held positions at Durham University Library, the House of Lords Library, the National Library of Scotland, and the University of Edinburgh. He moved to the Bodleian in 2003 as Keeper of Special Collections, becoming Deputy Librarian in 2011. He was educated at the University of Durham and University College London, and holds a Professorial Fellowship at Balliol College, Oxford. He is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, the Royal Society of Arts, and a Member of the American Philosophical Society. He was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in The Queen’s Birthday Honours 2019.


Richard serves as Treasurer of the Consortium of European Research Libraries, as President of the Digital Preservation Coalition, and as a member of the Board of the Council on Library and Information Resources (in Washington DC).

He has written extensively on the history of the book, on the history of photography, and on current concerns in the library, archive and information worlds: Burning the Books, A History of Knowledge Under Attack (2020,) John Thomson (1837-1921): Photographer (1997) and A Radical’s Books (with Michael Hunter, Giles Mandelbrote, and Nigel Smith) (1999)


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