In 1862, the MIT Libraries were established with a gift of seven leather-bound books. When classes were first held in 1865, the collection had only grown to 75 volumes, and a librarian would not be hired until 1889. But the Institute’s library strategy was deliberate and innovative. Rather than amassing a huge collection in a grand building to signal its status, MIT housed books where they were most needed, treating them as tools to be used, not treasures to be hoarded. As President Francis Amasa Walker noted in 1893, “Under such a system the students learn to use books with freedom.”
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