Friends of the Bodleian
About the Friends of the Bodleian
As a member of the Friends, you will enjoy invitations to exclusive events, a range of member-only discounts and the opportunity to see all our exhibitions before the general public.
Founded in 1925, the Friends of the Bodleian is one of the oldest library support groups in the world. The main aim of the Friends is to provide resources for the acquisition of manuscripts and printed materials that would otherwise be beyond the Libraries’ reach. It also helps to preserve the priceless collections and explain their significance through lectures and literary, musical and other events.
Over the years, the Friends have helped the Bodleian to secure such diverse treasures as the Sheldon tapestry map of Gloucestershire, the manuscript draft of Jane Austen’s The Watsons, Mendelssohn’s Hebrides Overture, a 14th-century manuscript Book of Hours, and The Book of Curiosities, an Arabic manuscript on cosmography dating from the 12th or early 13th century.
The Friends of the Bodleian continue a great tradition of the Library's founder, Sir Thomas Bodley. It was his endowment of 1598 that formed the basis of the Library. Throughout its 400-year history, the Library has received many generous benefactions. By becoming a Friend, you will not only be part of this tradition, but you will carry it forward and make a positive contribution to learning.