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The Library of the 21st Century
Libraries have served not just as places for collection and places of casual repose for those with time on their hands but as citadels defending literacy and the democratic values born in the Athens of Socrates and Thucydides.
When we think of libraries, we should remember that had it not been for those monastic collections on the stony, windswept hills of Ireland, where small bands of monks kept literacy alive after the fall of the Roman Empire, the glory that was Greece simply would not have survived. Those devoted monks, painstakingly copying and illustrating the Vulgate, were at the time the sole protectors of the flames of knowledge, and of the virtues of learning, reading and writing.1
This library has been designed to serve not simply as a repository and as a citadel, though those too, but as a catalyst to aid and support the education of undergraduate students in the 21st Century.
The design of The Peter H. Armacost Library reflects two great shifts in contemporary pedagogy: first, the recognition that the new world of information technology has changed forever what libraries can be and must be if they are to be an effective part of a modern education; and second, the recognition that - increasingly understood in American business over the past two decades, but well recognized by the liberal arts college for generations - a truly effective institution thrives on the work of small teams and collaborative learning.
1 Jones, James F., Jr. (2004, October 17). Of Schools on Hills Aegean, Irish, and Otherwise. Inaugural address, Trinity College, Hartford, CT.