The Rosenbach Podcast: Episode 12

The Case for Libraries and Museums in a Troubled World: A Discussion with Richard Ovenden, Bodley’s Librarian at the University of Oxford

Richard Ovenden, Bodley’s Librarian at the University of Oxford. Photograph by John Cairns.

Libraries, archives, museums, and the collections they contain are essential for the healthy functioning of democratic societies.  Using the story of Dr. Rosenbach’s charity book auction described in Episode 11 as a starting point, this episode of The Rosenbach Podcast features a conversation with Richard Ovenden, O.B.E., Bodley’s Librarian at the University of Oxford.  Our conversation explores cultural memory, information policy, and where our world may be headed with access to reliable information under threat.  Mr. Ovenden discusses his new book, Burning the Books: A History of the Deliberate Destruction of Knowledge (Harvard University Press, 2020), and what lessons history has to teach us about when libraries and archives come under attack.  

Learn more about the Bodleian Libraries at the University of Oxford here.

You can purchase Richard Ovenden’s new book, discussed in this episode, here.

Cover of Burning the Books, courtesy of Harvard University Press.
Albert Einstein, autographed preface to Dr. Rosenbach’s rare book auction catalogue, Ro1 938b copy 1.
Title page of the catalogue for Dr. Rosenbach’s rare book auction, Ro1 938b copy 1.