Letter To The Editor: Library Staff On Gallegly Center Location

“To the Editor,

The library staff is disappointed that the Echo did not approach us for comment after the Regents’ approval of the construction of the Gallegly Center. Unfortunately, in much of the discussion thus far, there has been a conflation of the Center as a scholarship-funding entity, and a physical space on campus. To clarify: the Library supports the Center as a non-partisan entity which provides fellowships, and supports inclusion of archives in our collection as research materials.

Librarians advocate for equity, diversity and inclusion, intellectual freedom, privacy, providing access to all expressions of knowledge, creativity and intellectual activity, and First Amendment rights. These values are reflected in the library’s collections, programs, and physical spaces. No viewpoint is privileged over any other, to the best of our knowledge and ability. As educators, the librarians and faculty together promote engagement of multiple viewpoints in the pursuit of common good.

Library spaces generally reflect their community. It stands to reason that the Pearson Library would largely reflect the CLU student body in all its diversity, and the values of the ELCA. As such, the library does not endorse partisanship.

We are concerned about making permanent a display that is partisan in an institution whose credibility is predicated on open inquiry and the accessibility of multiple viewpoints. There is no other building or center on campus that is named to honor a public figure’s political service. Our major concern regards the placement of Gallegly’s replica office in the Pearson Library, and how it may be perceived as partisan bias. This risks the reputation of Cal Lutheran as an institution which, in the words of the ELCA, is “dedicated to the freedom of inquiry and the development of the whole person in body, mind and spirit.” We expect the Board and administration to carefully consider our concerns, and open up channels of discussion as this project moves forward.

The Pearson Library Staff

*Editor’s Note: The writer of “Board of Regents approves Gallegly Center” did reach out to a librarian for an interview prior to the vote on the center and the interview was declined. 

*Letter to the Editor published as submitted, this is an original copy not edited by The Echo staff.

Updated 10/28/17