Wednesday, November 20, 2013

"Keep the ideas, return the books": advice to generations of Bologna Center students

If those entering Dante's Hell pass beneath an inscription, why not SAIS Europe students, too?

The admonition "Keep the ideas -- return the books" has greeted Bologna Center students entering the Robert H. Evans Library since very nearly the beginning of the program.

A plaque bearing the words overlooks the Libary checkout counter today as it did a half century ago. Fashion and Library staff have changed, but the central role of the Library has not.

Robert H. Evans Library back then - with the plaque
Today's Library staff & the plaque:
John Williams, head librarian Gail Martin, Maria Christina Marcich, Heather Kochevar & Ludovica Barozzi

Here's a quiz:
Who loaned the first books to the Library, and with what stipulation?
Submit your answers via a comment to this post or with an email to This quiz is open to everyone. The winner gets a SAIS Bologna Center tee shirt.

And of course the words in Dante's Inferno are: "Abandon all hope ye who enter here."

Nelson Graves

1 comment:

Nelson Graves said...

Current SAIS Europe student Alex Augustine has answered the quiz question correctly. As recounted in the book "The Story of SAIS" by Tammi L. Gutner, the U.S. Information Service loaned a collection of 10,000 books after the Bologna Center moved into its new building on via Belmeloro in 1961. The collection consisted mainly of fiction and some history and reference books. The stipulation? That the library should be open to the public. And it always has been. Thank you, Alex, for playing the quiz.