Columbia Library columns (v.34(1984Nov-1985May))

(New York :  Friends of the Columbia Libraries.  )



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  v.34,no.2(1985:Feb): Page 3  

The Opening of the New Rare
Book and Manuscript Library

Remarks at the Dedication and Reception



^ HIS is a very special moment for all of us, and for the
legions of scholars, authors, and appreciative lovers of
books who will be here for generations to come. I am
reminded of a speculation by one of the greatest of the world's
contemporary authors, Jorge Luis Borges. He said: "I have al¬
ways imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library." My good
friends, welcome to Paradise. Here in Paradise, as we enjoy the
feeling of openness, the exquisite use of glass and wood, the strik¬
ing design tliat brings light and access to the treasures of the
written word, it seems far from coincidental that this is the work
of the successors to Columbia's master planners, McKim, Mead
and White. Byron Bell has done a wonderful job.

We would not be here to celebrate this achievement and dedi¬
cate this magnificent facility, were it not for all of you. Today
belongs to vou, but not only today: I hope and trust you will
return here many times to savor for yourselves what you have
given to others. This splendid library is the fulfillment of a dream
for many and for none more so than the man who harbored this
fantasy in the days when he was leading renowned historians on
treasure hunts, back into the dusty catacombs overflowing with
boxes of rare jewels. His guidance is acknowledged in so many
wonderful books that he is, 1 am sure, a candidate for the Guhi-
ness Book of World Records—our friend Ken Lohf.

Opposite: The reception on December 5 in the new Libr:ir\- was attended
bv nearlv four hundred guests.
  v.34,no.2(1985:Feb): Page 3