Source: Bodleian Libraries
After six months as interim librarian, Mr Ovenden succeeds Sarah Thomas in a role which gives him overall responsibility for collections together consisting of more than 11 million printed items, 50,000 e-journals and a vast quantity of other material.
Dr Thomas’ six years in the job were marked by a number of controversies over the rehousing of the vast humanities collections, a plan to move the library entrance to the historic Radcliffe Camera building, and staff unhappy at being asked to wear bright yellow badges and “ask me” T-shirts.
She was also responsible for a major renovation of the New Bodleian, due to reopen as the Weston Library in October 2014, before moving to a new position as vice-president of Harvard Library.
Mr Ovenden, who joined the Bodleian in 2003 as keeper of special collections and became deputy librarian in 2011, was educated at Durham University and University College London. A professional librarian since 1985, he had previously worked at Durham University Library, the House of Lords Library, the National Library of Scotland and the University of Edinburgh.
Ian Walmsley, Oxford’s pro-vice-chancellor academic services and university collections, said he was “greatly looking forward to working with Richard as he takes forward the strategy of the Bodleian Libraries for meeting the needs of present and future generations of scholars”.
He also praised him for “his inspirational leadership of the Weston Library project, his close involvement in the development of digital services and his deep knowledge of the special collections”.