June 23, 2017
When you wish upon a university library…
by Peter Kranitz
Librarians at the University of Missouri are hoping Christmas comes early this year. They wrote a wish list of books they want for their library and sent it to the twenty-first-century North Pole known as “the internet,” in the hope that some real-world elves will help them fill out their stacks.
The list features over 400 titles, representing all of the university’s subjects, which, according to the library’s head of research services, “is just the tip of the iceberg.” It includes books like Elizabeth Gaskell’s Curious, if True: Strange Tales, for the budget philanthropist ($16.75), in addition to rarer items like an edition of the Complete and Truly Outstanding Works by Homer, with the addition of a Latin literal translation listed at a modest $5,250.00.
According to the Missourian’s Madi Skahill, repeated budget cuts have left the library unable to afford the resources it needs. For the 2017 fiscal year, it faced $1.2 million in cuts, and librarians expect to lose another $1.3 million by 2018. The majority of the remaining budget pays for the university’s subscriptions to academic journals, leaving little over for books.
While essential works like a signed first edition of Tennessee Williams’s The Knightly Quest ($1,575.00) remain elusive, the library has, as of this writing, received twenty-three books from nine different donors. That’s a long way from completing their list, but the librarians can rest assured that students will no longer be deprived of Kate Frey’s seminal work The Bee-Friendly Garden: Design an Abundant, Flower-Filled Yard that Nurtures Bees and Supports Biodiversity.
Peter Kranitz is an intern at Melville House.