The Purpose of the Public Library in Relation to the University

Charles D. Abbott [1900-1961] was a Professor of English (1927-1930, 1934-1960) and Director of Libraries (1934-1960) at the University of Buffalo. In the undated essay above, he writes about Buffalo & Erie County Public Library’s predecessor, the Grosvenor Library, and its importance in continuing the education begun at university.

“In a very real sense, it is the public library which becomes the final university … a university which never graduates its members but which remains to the end always benevolently helpful, always solicitous to provide the raw materials upon which learning must be based.”

The philosophy that life-long education relies upon the public library as expressed by Professor Abbott is, in part, the reason for the Grosvenor Rare Book Room’s existence.  We thank the University at Buffalo’s Special Collections for providing this letter as a reminder or reinforcement of our purpose.

The Library “needs the vigorous support of every man of good will.”

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