Volume XXVI · Autumn-Winter 1970-71 · Numbers 1 & 2
Speeches at the Dedication of Rush Rhees Library
On the following pages, the Editors of the Library Bulletin are pleased to reprint the three speeches given at the time of the Dedication of Rush Rhees Library, April 23 and 24, 1970. The speakers were John G. Lorenz, Deputy Librarian of Congress; Gordon N. Ray, President, John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation; and Rutherford D. Rogers, University Librarian, Yale University.
Mr. Lorenz' subject was the research library and the community. Mr. Ray spoke on the development of university research collections in universities today, and Mr. Rogers spoke on university libraries in the 1970's.
The Research Library and the Community
--JOHN G. LORENZ
It is a great pleasure for me to be here today for this important occasion. I know it is customary for speakers to say that, but I happen to have some unusual reasons. In a way this occasion is a culmination of a long series of coincidental events which have related me to Rochester over the past forty years. I am not basically a superstitious man, a believer in fate, astrology, etc., but I have noted here some of the evidence I have.
In the early 1930's when I was about fifteen, my mother, father, and I took our first automobile trip out of New York City. Our destination was Niagara Falls, but I want to make it clear I was not on their honeymoon. I don't recall how we happened to stop at the University of Rochester campus. I was already an inveterate reader so one of the buildings we visited was the Rush Rhees Library. I didn't know then it had just recently been completed. What really made a great and lasting impact on me were the two inscriptions on either side of the entrance, an impact which led me to take paper and pencil right then and there and copy first the one on the left which reads:
"Here is the history of human ignorance, error, superstition, folly, war and waste, recorded by human intelligence for the admonition of wiser ages still to come."
and then the one on the right which reads:
"Here is the history of man's hunger for truth, goodness and beauty, leading him slowly on, through flesh to spirit, from bondage to freedom, from war to peace."
I have seen many inscriptions since that day, but I have never again been impressed to the point of copying another one down. And as evidence that the impression was not transitory, when I returned home from the trip a week later, I typed out the inscriptions I had copied on a piece of stationery, and this yellowing piece of paper has been in my files ever since.
Looking back, I'm inclined to believe that if there was any single influence which started me toward thinking of being a librarian, it was the impact and the meaning of these inscriptions.
But this was only the beginning of the coincidence relating me to Rochester. The first significant library job I had was at the Schenectady Public Library and my boss there was the former assistant librarian at the Rochester Public Library, Bernice Hodges. She used the Rochester Public Library as a model for almost everything she did, and I learned a great deal about the Library indirectly. At the first American Library Association conference I attended, which was in Buffalo, New York, in 1946, I met Harold Hacker, your dynamic city, county, regional library developer. Harold had organized a small group of librarians to go on a radio quiz show and I won fourteen silver dollars, and we've been good friends ever since.
One of the first library talks I ever gave was at the Rochester Public Library and I remember using the corny line in talking to the staff that I had heard that "this was the best library by a dam site."
The girl I married and who is here with me today comes from this part of the country. She spent part of her childhood in Rochester and the balance in Perry, just forty miles south of here.
In taking the job of Deputy Librarian of Congress, Ï followed a man who was also a former director of the Rochester Public Library, Rudy (Rutherford D.) Rogers. He will be speaking here tomorrow.
Five years ago when my son was looking over colleges, his top choice and final selection was the University of Rochester. When he graduated last spring we were very pleased that he won your Dutton Award for the senior who contributed most helpfully and unselfishly in working with his fellow students. In any case, I'm willing to report that we truly believe he and the University were very good for one another, that the University gave him what he needed to be a well-balanced, well-informed member of our society and also the basis for a sound beginning career in management, which I'm sure will be as fully participatory as he can manage.
There are many more such relationships I could describe, including the fact that one of my daughter's good friends at the college she is now going to is from Rochester, and his parents, we found, are good friends of the University of Rochester.
I hope you will forgive these rather personal comments, but I also hope they will give you a better understanding of why I am particularly pleased to be here today for the dedication of this significant addition to the resources of this University. I have not been unfamiliar with this library project as it has progressed, being a long time colleague of John Russell, your former librarian, and Lou Martin, who is now with the Association of Research Libraries and one of my colleagues on the Washington scene. In addition, in my former position at the U. S. Office of Education, I remember being involved in discussions on the federal grant to the University which assisted in the construction of this major library addition. Again, one of the key leaders in the Office of Education in this higher education grant program and one of the office's most capable administrators is a distinguished alumnus of this University. I am sure many of you know Peter Muirhead and are well acquainted with his distinguished career in New York and Washington.
But turning now from the past to the present and the future, I suppose the important question is how will this attractive, functional new library facility be used in the service of mankind or to paraphrase the inscription, how will this building which contains the record of human intelligence help to lead us to truth, goodness and beauty, from bondage to freedom, from war to peace.
I am not going to talk about the many ways in which this expanded library will be better able to assist students, faculty, and the university in the intra-institutional programs of the University, because I firmly believe that if it is to be fully effective and fulfill its mission, the resources of this library should be available to the entire community. Therefore, I am going to address myself primarily to the relationship of this research library to the larger community, the region and the state in which it exists.
Again it seems almost fateful to me that here in Rochester and the region surrounding which has been so interwoven with my life, there has been developed and established the organizational base for a library system that has the potential for achieving the goals and objectives which the leaders in library, educational and governmental development programs have long envisioned. I am pleased that I can tell you that this region in the entire nation represents one of the highest levels of development of the concept of libraries interrelating and cooperating with one another in a planned, organized manner in sharing resources and services for the benefit of all their users -- students, business and industry, government, researchers and all the people of the region.
I may be telling many of you what you already fully know, but as a prophet (since I'm from another part of the country), I would predict that what has been organized here under the Rochester Regional Research Library Council with the University of Rochester Library and the Rochester and Monroe County Library System as two of the mainstays is in effect a precursor of the shape of things to come if library service is to fulfill its responsibility to all communities of users across the country. How did you get this way? I thought it would be interesting to analyze and note the characteristics of the actions taken in this region that are significant for other regions to consider?
In the first place, your leaders looked to your state capitol and state law. We should never forget that in this Republic, our states have a primary responsibility for education and libraries. I know that leadership from this region had a great deal to do with establishing in state law the authority for the development of the Regional Reference and Research Library Systems, state-wide, including their being chartered and organized, and most importantly, partly financed by the state.
Secondly, minimum standards were established so that at least two libraries of considerable strength would be included in each region and at least 750,000 persons would be in the area served. This recognized the important principle of building better library service from existing library strength, rather than starting from scratch.
The governing boards of the regional library systems by state law were required to have lay persons on them to make sure that the communities' broad interests were represented and served. I believe the Rochester regional has carried this to the ultimate and all of your officers and trustees represent the community and not libraries as such. These trustees reflect the wide diversity of the region and come from the fields of research, business and industry, education, science, law, and the humanities.
In the Rochester Regional Council this lay regional board wisely created an Advisory Council of librarians representing the major libraries in order to get professional input into their deliberations.
A full-time professional librarian with broad experience was employed to provide executive leadership, planning, and direction -- Evaline Neff. The office was established in a location independent of any member library -- a wise move in terms of independence of operation.
A survey of resources, needs, and expectations of the region was undertaken to establish a base line for the operation and its goals and objectives.
Funds were made available to reimburse the libraries most heavily utilized for interlibrary loan. In order for a library system and its services to remain healthy and viable, the libraries that contributed resources most heavily were equitably compensated. Other services, including library services to industry, were based on a shared or pay-as-you-go concept.
The system collects data so that services and results can be continually evaluated. This particular region is fortunate in that as early as 1960, the State Department of Education was persuaded to do a basic pilot study and establish a list of priority services.
Information, training, and publication programs for area personnel have been established and working committees to formulate and carry out plans have been organized so there is a steady infusion of energy and ideas.
And finally, the Regional Library Council seems to be constantly looking to the future in terms of relating and being relevant to new programs and priorities. I was pleased to note that the potential of the new technologies including computer technology and use of data bases such as the Library of Congress Machine-Readable Cataloging Distribution Service, Chemical Abstracts and the 1970 Census data are being explored as well as some of the developments in communication technology. Many of us are hopeful that satellite communication may help reduce present high costs of interlibrary communications. Teletype, telefacsimile and other types of communications are all very real possibilities for improved and speeded up library and information services. These, then, are some characteristics of your regional library system of which your University library is a key element and they are characteristics which I believe every region in the nation would now or one day be well advised to emulate.
Some of you may have come here to celebrate only the expansion and improvement of one library. The significance of the occasion to me is that in the strengthening of this library the whole chain of libraries is strengthened in this region and potentially state-wide, and nation-wide.
It no longer seems necessary to argue the case or make the point that a university should be a concerned, communicating, contributing part of the community in which it is located. I believe that to the degree it is successful in relating itself to the community, to that degree will it be understood and appreciated by the community. Again I may be bringing coals to Newcastle since your President Sproull, in a recent talk spoke of the University's getting involved in the community and "the educational value to faculty and students of working in the real world." I have also had the benefit of seeing your attractive pamphlet, "Where is the University of Rochester" and reading in it:
"But no university alive with the adventure of ideas and discovery can be contained by physical boundaries. As a vital partner in the life of Rochester, the University can be found at work throughout the region . . . in the hospitals, the schools, the cultural life of the community, and ultimately, in the future of our society."
What is the federal backdrop on this subject? Sooner or later a federal official always gets around to telling about Washington. The federal government recognized the value of promoting cooperation between universities and their communities and, in the Higher Education Act of 1965, encouraging this closer relationship became a matter of public policy. Title I provided for assistance to higher education to develop community service and continuing education program "for the purpose of assisting the people of the U. S. in the solution of community problems such as housing, poverty, government, recreation, employment, youth opportunities, transportation. health and land use." The present administration is incorporating the provisions of this Title in the extension of the Higher Education Act as one of the programs to be funded under a proposed National Foundation of Higher Education. This provision spells out "community service and continuing education programs, involving the resources of the institution in solving the problems of the community in which it is located" as one of the eligible areas.
So regardless of which administration or which method of funding, we can expect continuation of the public policy of encouraging higher education institutions to use their resources to serve their communities. The relevance I want to establish is that the university library is one of the institution's greatest resources available, and it is therefore entirely consistent with public policy that this resource and service be an inherent part of broadly and widely conceived community development programs such as the improvement of regional reference and research services.
Taking a further look at the recently proposed National Foundation for Higher Education, we find another provision under which the same Foundation could also support projects involving "inter-institutional networks and cooperative arrangements, including shared facilities and library collections, closed-circuit television, and electronic computer networks and programs." These are some of the provisions which appear under Networks for Knowledge in the present Higher Education Act. Unfortunately no funds have as yet been appropriated for such networks. But the principal point I want to make is that this region of the country has established, organized and is operating a library system which is geared up to take advantage of these forward-looking programs as soon as funds become available and that is an important factor for future development.
There are two additional pieces of federal legislation that indicate further the federal interest in interlibrary cooperation. These are included in the Library Services and Construction Act, Title III, called Interlibrary Cooperation, and the Higher Education Act, Title II-A for Academic Library Resources. These were proposed by the administration back in 1965 and given bi-partisan support in the Congress. Since I was still in the Library Services Division of the U. S. Office of Education at that time, I was present at the conception and birth of both of these provisions. I can testify that there is a strong, almost instinctive, interest on the part of federal officials both in the executive and legislative branches in support of both the concept and the reality of interlibrary cooperation.
As a result, within one year of their being proposed, the Congress passed legislation and provided funds to encourage such interlibrary cooperation. The Higher Education Act of 1965 authorized funds for institutions of higher education to meet special national or regional needs in the library and information sciences and for combinations of institutions of higher education which need special assistance in establishing and strengthening joint-use facilities. The Library Services and Construction Act as amended in 1966 took an even broader point of view and established a new provision for Interlibrary Cooperation across the board, requiring each state to develop a state plan for interlibrary cooperation including policies and objectives for the systematic and effective coordination of the resources of school, public, academic, and special libraries and special information centers for improved services of a supplementary nature to the special clientele served by each type of library or center. The state plan must also provide assurance that every local or other public agency in the state is accorded an opportunity to participate in the system and provide for the establishment of a state-wide council. This council must be broadly representative of the professional library interests and of library users which shall act in an advisory capacity to the state agency.
It is only fair and just to say that the research, study, and planning that was done in New York State helped to provide the base for both these federal provisions. It is unfortunate that since their passage, neither provision, along with many other federal education programs, has been adequately funded to show fully what their impact for improved library service could be. There are signs, however, that there is growing understanding at all levels of government in the central importance of library service to educational, social, economic, and cultural growth. At the federal level alone, whereas the administration's request for library appropriations for this fiscal year originally totaled about $46 million, the amount finally appropriated by the Congress was over $106 million. The administration's request for the next fiscal year represents a major increase -- up to the $136 million level and the House Committee has already added $10 million more to this. So a mild sort of Renaissance may be under way.
Another significant straw in the wind was the action taken by your New York State Legislature just a few weeks ago in appropriating $18 million for community art and cultural programs, including, I believe, about $2 million for the New York Public Library. This action recognizes that this major research library is not only a resource of one city but certainly of the entire state, and I would go further and say the entire nation and, in some respects, the world.
Libraries may in fact be helping to lead the way in fostering the concept that the world must now be considered one community and that knowledge and information as represented in books and other communications media are indivisible and should be considered as an entity. Another significant cooperative provision in Federal assistance to libraries is carried out by the Library of Congress with funds appropriated to the Office of Education and transferred to the Library. This program is called the National Program for Acquisitions and Cataloging, or Shared Cataloging. It has as its objective the centralized acquisition and cataloging at the Library of Congress of all books published throughout the world of scholarly and research value and the distribution of this cataloging information promptly to all research libraries so as to eliminate their need to duplicate this expensive cataloging. There is solid evidence that this program is already saving millions of dollars of cataloging effort across the nation, research library funds that are much needed for other library services.
In carrying out the program, the Library of Congress has established in effect an international cooperative cataloging program with acquisitions offices abroad working in cooperation and conjunction with other national libraries and producers of national bibliographies. As a result, shared cataloging centers have been set up by the Library of Congress in London, Paris, The Hague, Oslo, Wiesbaden, Florence, Vienna, Belgrade, Tokyo, and Rio de Janeiro. Other cooperative arrangements have also been established with Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, the U. S. S. R., under which cataloging information is being supplied on books of research value so that only minor revision and editing are necessary when the daily air freight shipments of books along with the cataloging information are received at the Library of Congress. Under this program in just a few years, the Library of Congress has increased the number of books it catalogs per year from about 100,000 to over 200,000. As a result of this program, if brought to its logical fulfillment there is now, perhaps for the first time in the history of civilization, the potential for developing a central source of bibliographic information on all materials of value to scholarship published throughout the world -- or, you might say, a world-wide community of bibliographic knowledge.
Although it may seem idealistic at this point in time, since world peace can only be built on world-wide knowledge and understanding, a truly world-wide bibliography may be an important element in eventually moving from war to lasting peace. In the words of the UNESCO preamble, ". . . since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defenses of peace must be constructed. . ."
I should like to conclude by returning to the national community and describing briefly what may be a most important step in finally achieving an operational national library development plan and the means of getting the resources to put it into effect. This move grew out of a National Advisory Commission on Libraries established by President Johnson in 1966. In establishing the Commission, the President noted the "tidal wave of new information touching every aspect of our lives: health, education, jobs, national defense, goods and services, transportation, communications, and environmental use." The President charged the Commission to:
"Make a comprehensive study and appraisal of the role of libraries as resources for scholarly pursuits, as centers for the dissemination of knowledge, and as components of the evolving national information systems;"
"Develop recommendations for action by Government or private institutions and organizations designed to ensure an effective and efficient library system for the Nation."
The Advisory Commission studies, investigations, and recommendations are included in a useful publication entitled Libraries at Large, which includes a good section outlining a national library network built on a network of regional library systems. The regional library systems are seen as major switching or referral points for communication between local libraries and national networks. Their responsibilities would include the maintenance of regional union catalogs and bibliographies of all kinds and extensive reference, referral, lending, and copying services for local libraries.
In order to provide a continuing assessment of library resources and the need for library services in a rapidly changing nation, to develop truly national planning for library development, the Advisory Commission concluded, as did practically every group that testified before it, that a permanent National Commission on Libraries and Information Science was essential.
I am pleased to report that a bill to establish such a permanent National Commission has already passed the Senate, and now I revise my text to bring you that hot news that this past Monday the House passed a similar bill with only eleven negative votes. The Senate may accept the House bill or there may be a Conference. In either case it looks as though we have a permanent National Commission on Libraries and Information Science with a good deal of independence of action.
So, as a windup, I would say libraries have come a long way in the past ten years and (coming back to the here and now) with the completion of this major addition so has the University of Rochester Library. But in library service there is never a time to sit back and say the job is done. The continuing challenge to this University, to the region, the state, and the federal government is to provide also the continuing support for this library so that it meets its fullest responsibilities in serving all the communities to which it is important -- this campus, this region, this state, and this nation.