Today marks the 400th anniversary of the death of Sir Thomas Bodley, a very important man in library history! And if you don’t know who he is, then clearly you haven’t been reading this blog very carefully (hint: see my first post). All academic libraries owe him an enormous debt, including modern ones like the Social Science Library, today’s subject. The SSL, constructed at the turn of the millennium, eventually combined three libraries and covers the subjects of politics, international relations and international development, sociology, economics, and social work, among others (also criminology!). It occupies one floor of a building that also houses several related departments (photo 8). By not getting built until 1999 the building avoided many of the pitfalls of other (relatively) “modern” Oxford architecture. It has nice big windows and a two story atrium that lets in lots of light for readers, climate permitting (photo 3). In the cafeteria upstairs, you can eat some cheap delicious food-by-the-kilo and take in the river view (photo 7). Also, there is a library, which with its stark mostly-grey palette seems like a great place to get some serious work done (photos 5 and 6). I think this library is well thought out, and I’m not just saying that because there is food there.
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