Libraries are what the ancient Greeks liked to call nutrimentum spiritus or food for the soul, and I think you will agree that this is a moving metaphor. Libraries provide access to answers, to knowledge, to data, to commentary, to critique, to healing, to learning and maybe even to more questions. The UAF Rasmuson Library is no different, but our story is rather unique. The Rasmuson Library was founded in 1922 with fewer than three thousand books; today we boast more than 1 million items. The growth of our collection is a reflection of the growth in our student base, the growth in faculty research, and the growth of our university and state. Elmer E. Rasmuson supported our library when it was still in its youth, and supported its expansion in 1984—we are all proud to have his name on these walls.
The 26,000 strong UAF alumnus body are always sharing memories of the library with me and detailing the countless hours they spent within these walls or the friendly librarian who helped them with the sources needed to complete a paper. Every semester hundreds more new students seek out the library as a place to study, to research, to socialize, to access the internet, or to borrow a new DVD. Because of this interest, we are always thinking of new ways to serve our students and campus community and your gift will allow us to meet these needs in real time.
Philanthropy has always played a large role here at the Rasmuson Library, going all the way back to the first documented gift in 1974 of $15, to a $5M endowment gift by the Rasmuson family. Your gift, no matter its size or intent, plays a role in the perpetual value of our collection, the robustness of our services and the breadth and depth of our research capacity. Please join me and consider a gift today to provide food to a hungry student’s soul.
Bella Karr Gerlich, PhD, Dean of Libraries