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The Stationers' Company
The City of London Livery Company for the Communications and Content Industries
Archive Evening 2024 - 15 April

Archive Evening 2024 - 15 April

Monday, 15 April 2024
Archive Exhibition

Open event (non-members may book to attend)

Stationers and Sir Thomas Bodley: how our nation’s written heritage was collected and preserved for the benefit of all

On 12 December 1610, the Master of the Stationers’ Company, Thomas Man, reached an agreement with Sir Thomas Bodley to supply Oxford’s Bodleian Library with a free copy of every book registered at Stationers' Hall. This agreement became the founding document of what we now call legal deposit – the reason Sir Roly Keating, Chief Executive of the British Library, says that wherever he travels in the world, everyone knows that the BL “collects everything”.

Since then, selected British libraries have collected every book, pamphlet and music score published in the United Kingdom. From esoteric monographs to incendiary tracts, from revered classics to erased literatures waiting to be rediscovered, legal deposit has preserved these works without favour or prejudice, allowing us to explore and interrogate the evolution of ideas in print.

2024’s Archive Evening will celebrate legal deposit, tracing its development from that first arrangement between Bodley and the Stationers, right up to its role in today’s media-saturated era of (dis)information.

Chaired by Dr Xerxes Mazda, our speakers include Stationer and Professor of English Literature at Bath Spa University, Ian Gadd, and current Bodley’s Librarian Professor Richard Ovenden. Dr Jessica Gardner completes our panel and together, they will invite the audience to engage with the triumphs, pitfalls, and future possibilities of ‘keeping everything forever’.  

Speaker biographies:

Ian Gadd is Professor of English Literature at Bath Spa University, where he also oversees many of the University's international collaborations and projects. He has research interests in the history of printing, publishing, and reading, with a particular focus on the London and Oxford book trades in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, including the Stationers' Company. He is a General Editor of the Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jonathan Swift, editor of the first volume of the History of Oxford University Press, and a past President of the Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing (SHARP).

Dr Jessica Gardner was elected as University Librarian for Cambridge in 2016 and began her appointment in 2017, following previous roles as the Director of Libraries at the Universities of Bristol and Exeter.  Jessica is a member of the Legal Deposit Libraries Committee and Director of the Agency of Legal Deposit Libraries ; a Curator of the Bodleian Libraries; and a Trustee of the Friends of the National libraries and of the Sir Winston Churchill Archives Trust.  She is also the University of Cambridge’s library representative for the International alliance of Research Libraries and one of the University’s Deputy Vice-Chancellors for ceremonial events.

Xerxes Mazda is responsible for building, managing and promoting the British Library's collection of published, written and digital content, covering all formats, periods and geographical areas. His department is made up of four large collection areas, Asian and African, Contemporary British, European and American, and Western Heritage Collections. It also encompasses the Research Development team who work across the Library to develop and support the Library’s research strategy, the digital research team, the Endangered Archives programme and the Eccles Centre for American Studies. Previous roles have been as Director of Collections at National Museums Scotland; Deputy Director, Engagement at the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, Canada; Head of Learning at the British Museum; and a series of roles at the Science Museum in London.

Richard Ovenden is Head of Gardens, Libraries & Museums (GLAM), a post he holds together with being Bodley's Librarian (the senior executive officer of the Bodleian Libraries), and is responsible for their strategic oversight. Prior to that he held positions at Durham University Library, the House of Lords Library, the National Library of Scotland, and the University of Edinburgh. He is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, the Royal Society of Arts, and the American Philosophical Society. He was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in The Queen's Birthday Honours 2019. Richard serves as President of the Digital Preservation Coalition, and as a member of the Board of the Council on Library and Information Resources.

5.30 pm Exhibition opens and drinks reception
7.00 pm Presentations and panel discussion
8.30 pm Drinks and buffet
9.30 pm Exhibition ends

£37 In-Person
£15 Virtual