Money for helmets, not for books

In 1971, I was a graduate student at SDSU when the then-new Malcolm Love library opened at SDSU. It looked great, but the collection in the place was decidedly weak. One thing I'd often find in the stacks was a dozen-or-more copies of some out-of-date textbook that some prof had apparently demanded they buy so that his/her students would not have to buy it. And so it went in the collection. The place wasn't run well, and at times seemed almost out-of-control of the librarians. Over the next decade I had my experiences with the library as an occasional visitor, and also when I was a part-time instructor there. The library did not impress. In the 70's there was a huge problem with theft of books and materials, so there was a security system in place that searched all bags, packs, and even large purses. The elegantly-designed lobby of the building soon degenerated into a dingy, beat-up, and inhospitable place. The last time I visited there--probably going-on thirty years ago--it didn't show any pride or anything that suggested scholarship. So, what's new? Oh, Matt is going to catch hell for his comment about "modest academic standing", even though that is totally apt. As to whether the new age paradigm still supports the notion of buying books as the core of a collection, I cannot be sure. If they buy the right books and preserve them, then I suppose that is correct. But buying best sellers and multiple copies of mediocre textbooks isn't the purpose of the place. I wish the librarians well; they are the keepers of the flame.
— April 13, 2016 7:53 p.m.

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