Misplaced Priorities

Philip Mone ’02 contributes this:

An article in today’s D, reports that administrators are closely considering serious cuts to Dartmouth�s library system, including significant changes and/or closings of Sherman Arts Library and Sanborn Library, which many consider jewels of �Old Dartmouth,� especially when compared to the sterile Berry Library.

Due to loss on endowment returns, cuts to Dartmouth�s operating budget are a must, but shouldn�t other options be explored before shutting down the very aspects of the College which make it unique and desirable? During my tenure at the College, hundreds of thousands of dollars were wasted on items not even remotely connected to the academic mission of the College. Among these expenditures: bringing fifty plus cable TV channels to every single dorm room, adding two superflous televisions to a single lounge in the Collis Center (one of which is a plasma flat screen, always on mute) and bringing Dartmouth its first alcohol- (and student-) free nightclub, Poison Ivy. Perhaps if during the boom years of endowment returns, the College had stockpiled returns instead of increasing budget allocations to non-academic programs, Sanborn and Sherman would not be at risk of closure today. But don�t worry students, if those libraries are closed, just pack up your literature and art history readings and head over to Collis, perhaps Friends is playing on three big screens.

Dartmouth’s library system is the heart of its campus, both physically, procedurally, and academically. The librarians at Sherman are specialists and, as such, fluent with a number of texts and indices specific to art and art history that are all but unknown to general reference librarians. Students and faculty in the arts, art history, history, and anthropology (not to mention students with an extracurricular interest in art history) will suffer for this change, if it is implemented.