Hi, I’m Richard Ovenden (aka Bodley’s Librarian), the director of the Bodleian Libraries in Oxford – one of the oldest libraries in Europe & the first legal deposit library. AMA!
The Bodleian is one of the oldest libraries in Europe & the first copyright library, and I'm responsible for our 11 million-plus printed books (!) plus other collections like archives, maps, music, digital content, etc. Our founder Thomas Bodley was responsible for setting up the precursor to today's legal deposit agreement, which allows certain libraries in the UK and Ireland (e.g. the Bodleian, the British Library) to get a copy of every book published in their country. Many other countries, like the US (through the Library of Congress) now have similar arrangements.
Amid ongoing debates about the future of the book and libraries, I'm working with my colleagues to find new ways to preserve knowledge, help scholars access the information they need, and engage more widely with the with the public, both in the digital and physical realm. I'd love to take questions on our collections (we've got everything from Tolkien's archive to a First Folio of Shakespeare), our history or the future of the book or academic libraries – and anything else you want to ask about the Bodleian.
I'll be answering your questions live from 11.30am EST (4.30pm here in the UK) until 1pm EST. I’m looking forward to my first AMA.
Proof: Has been provided to mods.
Update: Time for me to sign off now - thanks to everyone who posted questions, sorry I didn't get round to them all, but really enjoyed the session. Feel free to follow me on Twitter: @richove.