The Dean's Corner

No University is Greater Than its Library

James C. Kirkpatrick Library is certainly a "crown jewel" of Central Missouri's achievement. It creates a beautiful and magnificent environment in which to pursue scholarly activities. I have seen an increase in library visitation by members of our academic community as well as by the general public. Many visitors also come from other educational institutions and communities.

While the beauty of the building may captivate us, we should also remind ourselves the purpose of an academic library. While there are a number of views expressed about the purpose of the academic library, I would like to bring to the attention of Central Missouri's community the view expressed by Dr. Vartan Gregorian, president of Carnegie Corporation, and eminent historian and scholar. Since he also served as the president of Brown University and as the president of New York City Public Library System, he is ideally qualified to comment on the purpose of academic libraries. Dr. Gregorian states,

"the library is the University of Universities, the symbol of our universal community, of the unity of all knowledge, of the commonwealth of learning. It is the only true and free university there is. In this university there are no entrance examinations, no subsequent examinations, no diplomas, no graduations. Ralph Waldo Emerson had it right when he called the library the People's University. Thomas Carlyle, too, called it the True University or The House of Intellect. By the same token, no university in the world has ever risen to greatness without having a corresponding great library, and no university is greater than its library."

Since no university is greater than its library, it is incumbent upon every member of the academic community to do everything they can to make the Kirkpatrick Library a great library, which will in turn make Central a great University.