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Scholarly Resources: Why Do We Collect?

University Librarian
Jeffrey MacKie-Mason

We welcome your comments:



I OWN EVERY book written by John Irving. His quirky humor, emotional insight, and fabulous storytelling captivated me from the time I discovered The World According to Garp. And, yes, I then collected and delved into his first three novels! I want my own copies, near to hand, so I can reread and relive the work. At the Library, we collect for many reasons. The most important one? To provide students, faculty, and patrons with access to the thoughts, discoveries, and imaginings of human civilization. We collect in many formats (from books to paintings to maps to datasets to audio and video recordings), in both analog and digital. This helps preserve our cultural, intellectual, political, and social heritage for future generations — and to open the eyes and minds of today’s students. We collect so that we may stand on the shoulders of giants, as the progress of knowledge was described by Bernard of Chartres in the 12th century (and then, more famously, by Isaac Newton in 1675). Where would we be without Newton? Where would we be without a great Library collection? -- Jeffrey MacKie-Mason, in the Spring 2018 issue of Fiat Lux