Things To Act
Tuesday, January 27, 2004
 
The Meaning of Libraries
Today's editorial page (but not Newsnet) also carries a curious badly-written, ineffectively sarcastic letter to the editor, decrying the fact that the library has the audacity to carry a work of "homosexual literature." Ignoring some of the other issues raised by the letter [mostly because the author's ideas don't rise to the level of intelligent conversation], we are left with the issue of the proper role of the BYU library. The library is not, in my understanding, a repository of Church-approved, faith-promoting, non-secular, prescreened literature. Rather, it is intended to be a broad repository of knowledge about virtually every subject known to man. In this specific case, I can think of several valid reasons for the library to carry the work in question--students may want to consult it to write papers in several subjects, or professors may want to use it in the course of their research. In fact, it seems to make more sense for the library to acquire needed ideologically or theologically objectionable materials (such as the Church's extensive collection of anti), rather than one or several professors subsidizing such works through their research budgets. Ultimately, the premise that everything in the library has been cleared by the Correlation Committee is, I think, wrongheaded and betrays a fundamental lack of understanding of the mission of both the library (to collect and make available knowledge) and the university (to teach truth and confront lies, in the light of faith).

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