Monday, November 5, 2012

The Magic Card

My Bodley reader's card apparently gets me in everywhere I want to go.

I visited Magadlen College (pronounced the way it is because it is spelled "Maudelayne" in the college charter, I learned from the little pamphlet) after finishing in the library on Saturday afternoon. I went to check in at the Porter's Lodge as all visitors, even those who can get in for free, are required to do. I knew that Bodley card holders were in that category of visitors. When I showed my card, the porter said, "Well, Sarah, you have the magic card. Go right ahead." The Received Pronunciation and the very nice touch of noticing my name on the card and using it had me just about bowled over. Calling it the magic card was just the icing on the cake.

Today I tried to nip in to see the picturesque parts of the Bodley after lunch (at a café recommended -- and rightly so -- by a colleague) since they've moved special collections to the windowless basement of the science library in preparation for restoration works in the New Bodley that are expected to last through 2015. I was met by a stand of tourist information with posted tour times. I hadn't even thought to ask if you had to take a tour. I went to the ticket booth to get more information (since I couldn't wait around for the next one — too much to actually do in the library!) and just in the course of conversation with the nice woman there, I mentioned that as an academic, I sort of forget that you can't always just go noodling around. She asked me if I had a reader's card, told me I could get in with that, and gave me a map! I ran into her again at the end when I hadn't worked up the courage to try to get the guard to let me into the divinity school, and she said, gesturing at my card, "Oh, with that, you can get in any time with up to four guests."

The magic card, indeed.

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