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What do you do with 8 million books? Build a shelf 153 miles long

By Richard Garner, Education Editor

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Viewed from the outside, it could be any old warehouse in the country.

Inside, though, it has the equivalent of 153 miles of storage space to store more than eight million books which form the bulk of the stock of arguably the country's most famous library.

Welcome to the new home for books owned by Oxford University's Bodleian Library, which has found that its historic entitlement to a copy of every volume published in the UK had led to it running out of storage space.

Desperate times led to desperate measures and – for the past few years – part of its mammoth collection has been housed in a former salt mine in Cheshire. This week though, a solution is being unveiled in the form of a giant £26m warehouse in South Marston, near Swindon. The vast structure has the capacity to keep pace with the demand for shelf space for at least 20 years.


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 9th, 2010 03:26 pm (UTC)
I imagine the Library of Congress (what does a politician need with a book?) has or had the same problem.
Oct. 9th, 2010 04:05 pm (UTC)
When you consider what the equivalent libraries are like in other nations, and their need of shelf space -- suddenly, one old space opera trope about "Library Planets" (Andre Norton had a few, I think) doesn;t seem to bizarre after all.

But still, all those books!
Oct. 9th, 2010 04:54 pm (UTC)
I've got so many books to read on my own to read 8 million others! =)

Been re-reading the Temeraire series by Naomi Novik. They've become my favorites!

I rarely ever go to the liberary, except for references when I need them.

Jeff Ringtail
Oct. 9th, 2010 10:18 pm (UTC)
I'm just envying them the shelf space for their Entire Collection. :)

As for references, that, of course, is what the Bodleian is for - references for researchers.
Oct. 10th, 2010 12:46 am (UTC)
Well, as for references ... if I had brought out my dictionary, I would find out that liberary is spelled library! DUUUUUUH! X))

Jeff Ringtail
Oct. 10th, 2010 02:38 am (UTC)
Details... Typoes are like the occasional eggshell the camp cook tossed into the powdered eggs to make the troops think the resultant scramble was made from fresh ones - they add authenticity.

Well, it's a story anyway... :)
Oct. 10th, 2010 08:08 am (UTC)
As long as it doesn't start with, "It was a dark and stormy night." (If you remember the comedy with Billy Chrystal and Danny Divito, "Throw Mother From The Train.") X))
Oct. 10th, 2010 09:34 pm (UTC)

Now if my daughter wants to start her life story with that line she can - it WAS. :)
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

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