Opening the Fellows’ Library

The Fellows’ Library is of course always open to researchers by appointment, but unrestricted access within College is, as the name suggests, a privilege usually reserved for Fellows. Yesterday, as part of the run up to National Libraries Day on Saturday, Jesus College students and staff were invited inside to admire both the beautiful interior and a selection of the College’s early printed books.

Students in the Fellows' Library

Undergraduates gathered round The Exercise of Armes (© Jesus College, Oxford)

More than 50 people came along to see books including the first edition of Isaac Newton’s Principia Mathematica; The High Dutch Minerva (the first German grammar for English learners, from 1680); and a book owned and inscribed by John Donne. Library staff answered questions from “How could anyone scribble in an old book?” to “How were pictures printed alongside the text?” and from “Did Fellows read this book when the College bought it?” to “Who reads these books today?”

Owen McKnight (Librarian)

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