The Middlebury Libraries are sensitive to the discord on campus surrounding Charles A. Murray’s recent visit. Given our core role of providing access to as wide a range of information as possible, as well as teaching the skills necessary to interpret and assess that information, we thought it might be useful to outline some of the ways we have responded to the controversy.
- We have purchased additional copies of core titles by Charles A. Murray in order to meet the heightened interest from the community. The library also holds multiple copies of works that respond to and/or dispute Murray’s conclusions, such as William Wilson’s The Truly Disadvantaged, and Stephen Jay Gould’s The Mismeasure of Man;
- In response to the Scott Center for Spiritual and Religious Life’s email message recommending specific books about conflict resolution, we purchased titles we were lacking and highlighted these works with a display in the library atrium. This display remained in place for over three weeks and was also highlighted in The Campus;
- Special Collections has been identifying, collecting, and preserving a variety of Web-based content relating to the controversy and protests. This material includes blogs and social media feeds created by student political action groups, as well as local news articles covering the events. We hope that these Web archiving efforts — in addition to our growing collection of donated images and video — will enable future researchers and generations of Middlebury students to understand the Murray visit and the March protests in a fuller context, and ensure that student voices continue to be heard more clearly than they might be if relying solely on secondary, mainstream sources;
- Special Collections also received a donation of digital photographs, videos, articles and responses to the Murray protest from August Hutchinson ‘16.5. These materials, which the donor has called “The Middlebury Moment,” are now held in our digital repository along with other student-created materials documenting the event.
We continue to seek ways to provide thorough information about Murray’s work, the various responses to it in the literature, and the recent protests relating to his visit to Middlebury. If there are additional titles that might speak to any these themes, we encourage you to submit them at go/requests/ (or go.middlebury.edu/requests/ if off-campus). Finally, please feel free to email us with other ideas for the Libraries to consider as we continue to respond as a community to these challenging issues.
The book collections on the Main and Lower Levels of Davis Family Library have been rearranged in order to create room for the Music Library collections that will be moving later this month. Updated paper copies of the building guide are available at the Circulation and Info Desks, and you may see updated plans online at go/davismap
New compact shelving was installed in the SE corner of the lower level, and all of the books in the “stacks” (aka general collection shelves) were shifted toward Z. Therefor, if you’re used to finding your favorite PQ books in a specific spot, to find them now, keep following the alphabet toward Z until you run into them.
The Vermont Collection was moved to the middle of the lower level, as were the Arabic, Chinese, and Japanese Collections. The VHS collection was moved to open shelves in the center of the Main Lvl just east of the Government Documents.
Robert Darnton, Carl H. Pforzheimer University Professor and Director of the Harvard University Library, describes many of the issues facing libraries – from digital books to the rising price of journals in this article published November 23, 2010 in the New York Review of books.