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Cambridge professor hits out at ‘burgers in the bod’

first_imgA prominent Cambridge academic has expressed concern at changes being made to Oxford’s Bodleian Library once plans to merge the History Faculty Library with the Radcliffe Camera go ahead.In a letter to The Times, Gillian R. Evans, Professor Emeritus of Medieval Theology and Intellectual History at the University of Cambridge, complained that greater student numbers in the Library will “destroy the old atmosphere” as they “listen to music, text, and chatter uninhibitedly”. She also claimed that students damage precious texts as laxer rules let in “chocolate brownies, hand cream, even burgers and chips”.Professor Evans, who studied at Oxford and now lives in the city, was also alarmed at the speed of the move, protesting, “No consideration has been given to the balance between student and research needs.“I have been watching people from management going around with tape measures just calculating shelf-space. It is disdainful to treat this as an issue about which there is no need to ask readers.”Defending the plans, Oxford Pro-Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Walmsley and Bodley’s Librarian Dr Sarah Thomas responded, “We do not allow food and drink anywhere near manuscripts: anyone who somehow managed to sneak a “burger and chips” into the Bodleian would be stopped by staff before they could even remove the wrapper.”However, Professor Evans claimed this was “simply not true”, telling Cherwell, “I am in the reading rooms almost every day, but there are no checks of incoming bags. Only outgoing bags in the Camera, which are not checked in the Bodleian.”An ex-Bodleian librarian commented, “As a librarian, I can assure you that inappropriate library behaviour is actually a constant problem and often feels like a losing battle.”Tiago Viula de Faria, a D.Phil. history candidate at St John’s, said, “Common sense rules simply must be followed — no chatting, no sticky fingers, no roller skating.”last_img read more