It's cost eighty million pounds and taken three years to finish but one of the world's leading research centres has had a major overhaul. The Bodleian libraries in Oxford are home to some of the most important books and manuscripts in history. From tomorrow, for the first time, one of its finest buildings along with its rare collections will be open to the public.
The Oxford Bodleians form the largest university library system in the country with more than 11 million printed items. The plan was to modernize the Grade 11-listed New Bodleian building and create a state-of-the-art facility for researchers to work with the special collections.
Five years ago a purpose built storage centre was constructed 30 miles away in Swindon. Millions of books were moved there as refurbishment work began. Now the volumes and manuscripts that are in high demand from students and academics have been moved back along the A420 to Oxford and are filling shelves in the renamed Weston library.
The building was designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott - the architect behind Waterloo Bridge and Battersea Power Station and he designed the iconic red telephone box.
Millions of pounds have been spent bringing this Bodleian into the 21st century. After it opens its doors this weekend, millions of people will be able to enjoy the atmosphere of library that holds a special place in academic history.