The death of wisdom

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader owns a number of books that used to reside in various public schools throughout the great Commonwealth of Virginia. These books were either purchased by your Maximum Leader (or his friend Smallholder) when the books were going to be purged from the school library. Although some of the titles he’s purchased have turned out to be lamentable works of scholarship; all in all your Maximum Leader (and Smallholder) have felt that it was better that the books live out our natural lives on a shelf in a home rather than being reduced to pulp or landfill fodder.

When these purged books wind up on his shelf your Maximum Leader has felt he’s done a good thing. High school libraries are not places of scholarship. Libaries in high schools are for reference. The old and out dated should be moved to make room for the new. It seems to be in the natural order of things.

But your Maximum Leader feels very differently about college/university libraries. Collectively, colleges and universities libraries are the storehouse of the accumulated knowlege of humanity. Every college, big and small, plays a role in preserving the history of humanity. The good. The bad. The lamentable. The very poorly written. The classic. The obscure. All works have a place in the libraries of the world.

Your Maximum Leader loves the very smell of “the stacks” of a college library. The older the better. (NB: The book preservationist would likely say that the smell your Maximum Leader likes is decaying paper. Sad thought…)

Your Maximum Leader doesn’t think that a book that finds its way into a college library should ever be purged.

Sadly… That is not the case as Professor Mondo details in a recent post. Here is the hardest part to read:

Finally, there was the sense that I was engaged in a kind of intellectual Black Mass, inverting the sacrament that I was meant to perform. I love my students, but I also love the worlds of literature and ideas; indeed, I show my love to my students by offering them these other things I value so much. These books, these ideas in them, matter so much to me that I’m devoting my life to the business of letting those stories and ideas survive another generation. But instead, I spent today making it that much less likely that a Mondovillian might encounter someone’s story or idea, even through a confluence of idleness and serendipity. Education is meant to help the mind grow, and I see libraries as symbols of the growth that has gone before us. Instead, I spent today making our symbol shrink. I couldn’t shake the feeling that this was the opposite of what I do.

Go thee and read the good Prof’s piece.

After reading the piece it makes me want to call my alma mater and make a donation and specify it goes to the library fund…

Carry on.

1 Comment »
Polymath said:

Sad.



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