It is very good to be back at Oxford, and thank you for your warm welcome. I suspect today is the noisiest this library will ever be.
It is humbling to know that the tradition of libraries here at Oxford goes back over 800 years. Everything about this place is steeped in the long experience of imparting knowledge and education, and the humanizing and civilizing effect that that has on our societies.
In the 400 or so years since that great man Sir Thomas Bodley established this institution for the good of all people, much has changed about the Bodleian, but at its heart nothing has changed.
For a start, you now store emails as historical documents, and some of those may even contain emojis. These sit alongside papyri written in Egypt 2,000 years ago and books written by Aztec scribes – all of it part of humanity's memory.
Everything stored here or placed here for special exhibitions – for students and non-students alike – will help us come into a better understanding of the past so that we may go into the future more fully equipped to deal with the challenges that face us.
The trusts, foundations, companies and individuals who have provided the funding for this great project deserve the thanks, not only of the University, but of the nation and the international community.
As the foundation stone above the entrance to the original Bodleian says: ‘quod feliciter vortat’: ‘may it go well’.