If the terror in Boston caused people to question the darkness of society, the Digital Public Library answers with the free, open sharing of knowledge that can enlighten and transform.
Our own University Librarian and dean of libraries, Paul Courant, is helping shape this vast initiative as a member of its board.
It's hard to believe, but in the early days of our university library, students needed permission to simply touch a book. It took more than 50 years to liberalize access, and that came after the University librarian and the University president at that time, James Angell, all but begged the Board of Regents to allow books to be circulated.
"We have to remember," President Angell said, "that the library is the great central power in the instruction given in the University, and that the books are here not to be locked up and kept away from readers, but to be placed at their disposal with the utmost freedom..."
Placed at their disposal with the utmost freedom.
Sharing knowledge with abandon.
That is the hallmark of great libraries, great universities and the graduates they produce. That knowledge is to be created, shared and celebrated, because it brings meaning and sense to the world.