World Book Day

World Book Day (March 2nd) is a celebration of authors, illustrators, books and (most importantly) it’s a celebration of reading.

In fact, it’s the biggest celebration of its kind, designated by UNESCO as a worldwide celebration of books and reading, and marked in over 100 countries all over the world.

In Oxford, first book was printed in 1478, just two years after William Caxton set up the first printing press in England.

Timeline of books in Oxford

The University has a rich history of printing, formalised in 1636 with the Great Charter secured by Archbishop Laud from King Charles I, which entitled the University to print ‘all manner of books’.

Today, the Oxford University Press has offices in 50 countries, and is the largest university press in the world.

The Bodleian Libraries contain more than 12 million books, including an original copy of Shakespeare’s First Folio — the first collected edition of any English playwright.

The University of Oxford has the largest university library system in the UK. Students have access to over 12 million printed items in over 100 libraries, including 29 libraries that make up the Bodleian Libraries.

Hamlet, part of the original copy of Shakespeare’s First Folio.

Did you know that the Bodleian Libraries span over 400km of shelving?!

The Weston Library Rare Books and Manuscripts Reading Room, Copyright © Oxford University Images / John Cairns Photography — All rights reserved.
The Bodleian Libraries are 29 libraries with over 12 million books
Studying within the Radcliffe Camera Copyright © Oxford University Images / Photovibe — All rights reserved.

Take a look at this video, exploring one of the biggest libraries in the Bodleian Libraries, the Weston Library and its work.

Weston Library

Find out fascinating behind-the-scenes information on the inner workings of Oxford’s vast main library, the Bodleian, and how its staff are working to make this ancient institution ready for future generations of readers. This includes the refurbishment of the Weston Library.

Behind the scenes at the Bodleian

What is your favourite book? Let us know in the comments! #WorldBookDay

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Produced by Jessica Turner, Digital Communications Office, University of Oxford.