Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Pembroke in our time

With this final donation, to bring the total up to 50 books, Stephen Town draws his Night shelf series to a close.

Gilbraith, C., Pembroke in our time, in the University Library at K8.4259 (Quarto)

Photo: Pembroke College library, Cambridge by Douglas Pfeiffer Cardoso.
Used under a Creative Commons License.
This final donation comes as new students have arrived in their Colleges here at York. Few Universities now preserve the tradition of a Collegiate system, but York continues to do so, and this model was originally a conscious emulation of the Oxbridge approach within which I studied. This gift is an acknowledgement of the enduring strengths of that system, and a celebration of the accession of a new Master of Pembroke, my near contemporary and friend Chris (Lord) Smith; a most worthy appointee.

It is also, at last, a book in which I get some mention, and leads me to reflect on what success means. I am pleased that another friend and recent Solicitor General, Sir Oliver Heald, recollects that I and my brother had College undergraduate politics ‘well sewn up’; I recall the astonishment of my contemporaries when I opted for a career in libraries. However, educating Yorkshire has been a family occupation now for a century, and I am content to have played a part in that tradition. I hope you have found this series stimulating, and that some may actually read the gifts. I depart sharing Alcuin’s view: “Oh how sweet life was when we sat quietly midst all these books”.

Photo: Stephen Town with some of his Night Shelf donations
Photo credit: Paul Shields, University photographer

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