LETTER: Bartsch responds to Welwood on NUC library books
In response to Ron Welwood’s column, I categorically disagree with his position that “the Notre Dame University/David Thompson University Centre Library books have little value.” As librarian of NDU/DTUC for a decade, Mr Welwood will have known that the library was not “a random selection of dated undergraduate books with very little use” but was a significant resource for higher education. Hundreds of students graduated with reputable academic degrees and became professionals in their areas of expertise. Have the books they used lost their value because there is no longer a university here? Assuredly not. Have Aristotle, Chaucer, Descartes, or the many academic works by more modern authors, all generously donated, lost their worth? Hardly.
As a professor of History at NDU and DTUC for many years, I found the NDU collection critical to my teaching and learning. In researching Immanuel Kant, I found the philosopher’s Letters in the NDU collection critical to understanding his views on religion. Of course, since the university’s closure, a wide range of new books and journals have been published, but it is wrong indeed and insulting to suggest, as Mr. Welwood writes, that these “tomes may be of sentimental value to a nostalgic few.”At stake is something with far deeper ramifications for our society: support and respect for a culture of reading and language that is central to our social development.
Many of our citizens fought against the closures of NDU and DTUC and understand them to be historic injustices to our community. We worked hard for over 20 years to protect the library collection and to keep alive the idea of re-establishing a university in our community. We maintain that this library is, as all libraries are, still valuable and necessary. Digital resources available today are essential, but so is a physical collection. Nelson should be proud to have such a resource which embodies the potential to carry on the tradition of higher education here. The City of Nelson was ideally suited to have a university and still is.
Looking ahead to what still could be, the City of Nelson should work to preserve and protect this valuable NDU/DTUC Library collection.