One of my favorite things about working on a college campus is the annual sense of renewal that arrives every fall along with the students. My first autumn at MIT brings new beginnings and invigorating possibilities. Two new senior leaders have joined the team — Greg Eow as our new Associate Director for Collections, and Amy Brand as the new Director of the MIT Press. You can read more about both Greg and Amy (and the MIT Press) in this issue of Bibliotech.
In another development that will surely bring renewed attention to the MIT Libraries and more generally, the role of research libraries in the modern age, MIT’s Provost Martin A. Schmidt has asked me to lead an Institute-wide task force of faculty, students, staff, and other experts on the Future of Libraries. We hope this conversation will include many voices, so I encourage you to look inside this issue for more information, including the website where you can join the discussion.
Of course, the future of libraries will always include the responsibility and privilege of collecting and stewarding our cultural and scholarly history. To that end, I have allocated a portion of our collections budget to the acquisition of rare books — thus establishing the first fund at the MIT Libraries exclusively designated for rare books. I hope you will be as pleased as I am by such inaugural purchases as a first edition of Émilie du Châtelet’s French translation of Newton’s Principia Mathematica. There is more inside Bibliotech about this wonderful book and the extraordinary woman who wrote it, and about MIT’s use of rare books in the classroom.
All of us at the MIT Libraries are deeply grateful for the generous support of our donors. Much of the work we do would not be possible without the gifts made by those we acknowledge in our Donor Honor Roll. As we move into the next phase of innovation and renewal for the MIT Libraries, your continued support will be ever more crucial to our success, so I hope you will take this opportunity to give generously to our future.