History of the Library

Just a few months after joining the Natural History Society of Oxfordshire, Miss Swann of Woodstock Road donated a few books which formed the basis of the Library of the Society. This necessitated a new Officer, a Librarian, and Miss Claridge was then appointed to the post in February 1895. The present Ashmolean Natural History Society came into existence in 1901 after the amalgamation of the Ashmolean Society with the Natural History Society of Oxfordshire and Field Club. A set of Library rules were drawn up in 1902 and later revised. In 1902 the books were transferred to the Glastonbury Kitchen of the University Museum. They have been moved a number of times since.

By 2021, the Library comprised nearly 600 books. 76 of the books were those published under the New Naturalist series, dating from 1945.

Disposal of the Library

Despite its long history, it was agreed at the AGM in 2020 to dispose of the Library. This was prompted by notice that the room where the books were housed in the University was required for other purposes. In addition, the use of the library (in the digital age) had declined significantly in recent years. Firstly, books were offered for sale to a second-hand bookseller to raise funds for the Society, while the remainder were offered to members in exchange for a donation. The residue is being offered for donations to members of another local special interest natural history society with whom we hold joint events. Any remaining books will be offered to a charity.

It is sad to have to disband the library, but times move on. It is gratifying that some members are interested in having some of the books for themselves.