A Engler Op Ed
LIS 450, Op Ed Assignment
You’re pulled in so many directions this time of year. Home, work, holidays, life in general. And it’s not just your time–there are many demands on your wallet, as well. Still, my fellow Marquette alum, this year I hope you’ll join me in supporting the Raynor Library at Marquette University. Here’s why.
Marquette’s library archive includes materials related to women’s studies, Native Americans, rare books, MU’s own history, and more. Books and manuscripts that can’t easily be found anywhere else, in a library that welcomes all researchers and the public, right here in downtown Milwaukee. But why support an archive? Who cares about a room of dusty old books in a college from which you’ve already graduated?
Well, did you see Peter Jackson’s wildly popular The Lord of the Rings trilogy? You know the original The Lord of the Rings manuscripts are housed right in the Raynor Library, right? And that they’re available for public viewing? That’s right, a librarian in 1957 had the foresight (and funds!) to purchase the original manuscripts and working copes of The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, and Farmer Giles of Ham. If you want to see Tolkien’s other papers and manuscripts, I hope you’re up for a trip to Oxford, England.
Do you believe in equitable access? The library is not just for Golden Eagles. Anyone with a demonstrable research need is welcome to do research at Marquette’s archives. With some ground rules in place to protect the integrity of the materials so they survive for many years to come, you can use these rare and valuable materials. No research need, but still interested? Contact the library to arrange a tour and viewing.
Here’s the catch: Building a world-class collection takes money. A library collection may not be as flashy as a championship basketball team. It may not be as visible as a new building on campus. It might not even be something you’ve thought of doing at all. But, a strong, varied, carefully cultivated collection is vital to a healthy university library.
Still not convinced? Look at the stats on the MU Library website (www.marquette.edu/library/about/facts.shtml). They’re impressive:
- Researchers from 45 different states used the special collection/archives—that’s 12,549 uses.
- MU cares for 9,100 rare books.
- 1,232 non-MU visitors used the library itself.
The list goes on, and those are just the numbers from July 2012 to June 2013.
MU’s vision statement in part reads “Marquette University aspires to be, and to be recognized, among the most innovative and accomplished Catholic and Jesuit universities in the world. […] We must reach beyond traditional academic boundaries and embrace new and collaborative methods of teaching, learning, research and service in an inclusive environment that supports all of our members in reaching their fullest potential.” Good luck doing that research and learning with an outdated library.
So, my fellow Marquette alum, the people who know a good Wisconsin beer and sausage as well as they know how to live the Marquette values of excellence, faith, leadership, and service, please consider a donation to the Raynor Library. Support the special collections. Donate items to the archive. Give money to keep this already impressive library great. Who knows, your donation could be used to purchase and preserve another classic like The Lord of the Rings. Support the library, and help Marquette give other students the chance to “be the difference”.