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Founded in 1602, Oxford’s Bodleian is one of the oldest libraries in Europe. With 11 million items, it is the second largest library in the UK. Known to generations of Oxford scholars as ‘the Bod’, the newest part of the library was officially opened in 1946. This Grade II listed building has just completed an £80m refurbishment that will see it renamed The Weston Library, after its major funder. The new entrance hall will accommodate public events – such as poetry readings and concerts – and a public exhibition space that will display highlights from the collection.

When the library reopens on the 21 March its first exhibition, Marks of Genius, will include Shakespeare’s First Folio (the first publication of all the writer’s plays, printed in 1623), a unique Jane Austen hand-written manuscript, Felix Mendelssohn’s conducting baton, letters from Einstein and pages from the first draft of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.

Shakespeare first edition

 Your Blue Badge Guide can include the Bodleian library as part of a private tour of Oxford.