ANOTHER chapter has been completed in the Bodleian Library’s multi-million-pound plans to upgrade its Oxford facilities.

In 2008, the world-famous library was blocked by the city council in its bid to build a £28m book depository in Osney Mead, West Oxford.

Instead, it decided to build a £26m book storage facility on the outskirts of Swindon, clearing the way for a £78m revamp of the New Bodleian building in Broad Street.

Just over a year ago, library staff began transporting books to the South Marston site from Oxford, from its store in Nuneham Courtenay, and from a Cheshire salt mine, which was also being used to store part of its vast collection.

The book move, the biggest since the library opened in 1602, was completed on schedule. One milestone was December 23, when the seventh million volume was shelved.

Librarian Sarah Thomas said: “This has been an important year in the history of the Bodleian, and it has been an extraordinary success.

“We have tagged and moved all our books, relocated our staff, prepared the New Bodleian building for its redevelopment, opened new facilities for readers in the heart of Oxford and refreshed and developed our IT capabilities.

“Any one of these tasks would be a major undertaking for most libraries, but thanks to a superb team of dedicated staff we have accomplished them all simultaneously without any major interruption to our day-to-day services to readers either in the university or further afield.

“With our new storage facility at Swindon, and renewed spaces for study in place or under development in the heart of Oxford, our readers can look forward to significant enhancements to our services in 2012 and beyond.”

The library, one of the oldest in Europe, and known to scholars as the ‘Bodley’ or ‘the Bod’, has 11 million volumes and is only second in size to the British Library. It is one of a handful of legal deposit libraries, which are required to keep a copy of every new book published.

The completion of the move is part of the Bodleian’s plan to free up space and make its treasures more accessible for the public by providing larger display areas.

Earlier this year, a collection of Franz Kafka’s letters to his sister went on display.

The Treasures of the Bodleian exhibition included part of Jane Austen’s first draft of her unpublished novel The Watsons, which went on show for the first time since it was bought at auction earlier this year.

Marco Polo’s travel manuscript from the 14th century, the Codex Mendoza, and a handwritten draft of war poet Wilfred Owen’s Anthem For Doomed Youth also went on display.

The exhibits were a preview of what the Bodleian’s Weston Library will offer the public when it opens in 2015.

The New Bodleian will become the Weston Library, featuring a glass front on Broad Street, exhibition rooms and a café.