We spoke to Lucy Gibson, Front of House Supervisor, to learn what working in the historic Bodleian Libraries is like. She also gave us her recommendations for sightseeing in Oxford
Working at the Bodleian Libraries is a real joy. The best bit of my job is being part of someone’s visit to, and experience of, Oxford – albeit a small one. It’s a privilege to show people the library and share with them the history and stories – and wonderful smell!
The Duke Humfrey’s Library is my favourite part. To walk in the footsteps of Sir Christopher Wren, JRR Tolkien and King Charles I is a dream job. I have had some visitors who are so in awe of the space that they are brought to tears.
My favourite Bodleian Libraries story dates back to 1602. Thomas James was appointed its first librarian and his wife, Ann, worried about him working in such a cold environment. The library had no heating then, so she used to bring in a hot house brick for him to warm his feet on.
I have fond memories of visiting my grandparents in Northumberland as a child. It is such a beautiful area with wonderful beaches and historic castles. I often went to Hampshire as well. Since having my own children, we have often been back to visit the New Forest National Park, Mudeford Beach and the pretty town of Lymington.
I have a deep love for old churches and cathedrals. I am working towards a degree in religious studies and classical studies, so visiting heritage sites is both work and play for me. I visited Wells and Gloucester Cathedrals last year and I am hoping to visit ones in Hereford and York soon.
Oxford’s most underrated place is St Mary’s Church. The church’s architecture and history itself is stunning but my favourite thing to do when there is climb the 13th-century tower and enjoy the 360-degree views.
The Bodleian Libraries is temporarily closed until further notice. Tours of Bodleian Libraries are usually available to book online at www.bodleian.ox.ac.uk