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.



Other opportunities

flourish horizontal


A stained glass window depicting Thomas Bodley

Join the Friends of the Bodleian

Discover the many exclusive benefits of being a Friend and supporting the work of the Bodleian.

Read more

Book spines

Recent acquisitions by the Friends

Learn about important purchases of manuscripts and printed books for the Bodleian Libraries made or assisted by the Friends of the Bodleian in recent years.

Read more

Trees in front of Oxford spires

Bodleian Patrons

Our Patrons community is a vital part of this centuries-old tradition of support. Funds support acquisitions, special projects and other aspects of the Libraries’ work. 

Read more

A painted rose on a panelled door

Our newsletter

Every year, Friends receive two issues of our newsletter which carries news of all aspects of the Libraries' work, new developments, acquisitions and services.

Read more