In the early 1980s, I was conducting research for a paper I was writing for the International Holocaust Scholars Conference. The subject of the paper was the Vermont eugenics movement, about which very little research had been done at that time.
I was especially interested in standard college biology textbooks of the early-20th century, especially around 1919, an important year for the Vermont eugenics movement. I wanted to discover what college professors were teaching their students about eugenics. As I suspected, they were teaching eugenics as a legitimate, modern technique for social engineering to “better the human race,” through sterilization of women of poverty and other marginalized (read Abenaki) Vermonters. Thank goodness no one had suggested “out of date” books be destroyed as “no longer useful.” As these books were checked out to me, I was happy to see I was the first to check them out in 60 years.
So, I certainly question any decision that sees a university library as for only-current books as judged by contemporary faculty. When I was at Yale, I entered Sterling Library much the same way one might enter a great cathedral, a sanctuary of learning for ages past and ages to come. I applaud Professor Jonathan Spiro’s essay in the March 9 Times Argus on the decision to downsize VSC library book holdings.
However, he might have inadvertently given ammunition to former Provost Jeb Spaulding’s position that we can only support a single Vermont State University campus, a university that can go head-to-head with the University of Vermont at the other end of the state. Professor Spiro has certainly provided a good argument for that one campus being Castleton.
The author is professor emeritus of Union Institute & University.
Welcome to the discussion.
Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.