Gifts and Books Day


Gifts and Books Day

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 Saturday 21 October 2023


 At the Weston Library

 Free, just drop in!

About the event

Enjoy hands-on activities, storytelling, taster talks and readings in this celebration of giving, books and stories.  

  • Contribute to our giant collaborative artwork and print your own themed keepsake.  
  • Dare you have a blind date with a book? Bring a book you recommend, wrap it up and write a brief description.  Then exchange it for one that intrigues you. 
  • Meet author Zetta Elliott who will share her reading and writing journey in an interactive Q&A 
  • Make a pop-up card and give a story inside
  • Take a lucky dip tour of Gifts and Books with exhibition curator, Dr Nicholas Perkins. Tours last 20 minutes and take place at 10.45am, 12.15pm, 1.15pm, 1.45pm. Sign up at the event welcome desk, spaces limited. 
  • Discover how books transform lives with charity Give a Book: Prison Reading Groups
  • Find out how the gifts of hundreds of Bodleian library donors in the early 1600s helped to transform a neglected space into an internationally renowned collection, with researchers from the ‘Shaping Scholarship’ project at UCL/Bodleian Libraries.
  • 10% discount on the Gifts and Books exhibition book on the day in the Bodleian shop.

Show and Tell: Gifts that last a thousand years

An interactive exploration of medieval manuscripts for all ages, with Dr Andrew Dunning, RW Hunt Curator of Medieval Manuscripts.

  • 12.30 – 12.50pm
  • 1 – 1.20pm

Sign up at the welcome desk, limited spaces.

Talks: Sir Victor Blank Lecture Theatre

Give a Book: The power of books in the hardest places


Give a Book is a UK charity that promotes books and the pleasure of reading for those who need them most. Our work is largely in prisons and with children in a range of settings. Through Prison Reading Groups (PRG) we fund and support reading groups in more than 70 prisons nationwide, and we run family reading projects to connect prisoners and their children through books.

The gifts that keep on giving: Drawing together loose threads in the textile bindings at the Bodleian Library


There is a long tradition of making and giving textile and embroidered bindings as gifts, and the Bodleian is lucky to have a rich collection of examples, several of which are currently on display. Join conservators Alice Evans and Katica Laza as they share their work on an ongoing project studying some of the textile treasures found in the Bodleian’s collections.

Bookshelf detectives: investigating early donations to the Bodleian Library


Every book has a story to tell—one that consists of the book’s own history as an object, rather than the words on the page. Join UCL researcher Dr Anna-Lujz Gilbert as she shares how the 'Shaping Scholarship' project is tracking down the donors of early printed books in the Bodleian Library.

Flashy Gifts Book Launch with the Oxford Flash Fiction Prize


Every story shared, every voice that rings out, every book exchanged, becomes more than words and objects. Stories are a priceless connection—a testament to our shared humanity, our hopes, and our dreams. With this special collection of flash fiction stories from around the world, join us in celebrating the power of storytelling and the gifts that it brings us.  

Come and enjoy an afternoon of readings from prize-winning writers, Q&As, prizes, and a free e-book copy of the anthology!


This event is held in Blackwell Hall and the Sir Victor Blank Lecture Theatre at the Weston Library.

Weston Library, Broad Street, Oxford, OX1 3BG

Find us on Google Maps

 Wheelchair access

The Weston Library is wheelchair accessible.


The Bodleian Libraries Learning Programme is generously supported by The Helen Hamlyn Trust:

The Helen Hamlyn Trust logo

In the shop

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Gifts and Books: From Early Myth to the Present
Nick Perkins

The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano
Olaudah Equiano

The Gifts of Reading
Robert Macfarlane

Lady Macbeth brass bookmark


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