The Schumacher Center’s small office is in a big library. Shelves of books greet us in the morning, accompany us through the day, and beckon to be read as we prepare to leave. These are not just any books:
Economist Fritz Schumacher’s 4,000-volume personal library with copious margin notes is heavy on philosophy, religion, literature, and history. These are the books that shaped Small Is Beautiful: Economics As If People Mattered.
The George Benello collection provides key literature on worker ownership and cooperative structure. The collection of Robyn Van En, founder of the Indian Line Farm – the first CSA farm in the country – contains the classics in organic agriculture.
Also in the library are the TRANET collection on appropriate technology, instructions for simple living in the Martha Shaw collection, a selection of Catholic Worker movement authors in the Richard Bliss collection, and the many books that influenced Robert Swann’s thinking on land reform, monetary reform, and decentralized economics. Gifts of additional collections are in process.
The Schumacher Center’s board of directors recognizes that we have in our stewardship books and papers as important to the new economy movement as Martin Luther King’s library is to the civil rights movement.
Our Librarian is adamant. These essential books must be moved from the 2,000-square-foot, sun filled, high ceilinged upper floor of the Library to a humidity and light controlled environment. She urges us to complete renovation of the 1,600-square-foot ground floor level of the building, including all the energy efficient measures needed to protect the integrity of the collections.
Creating this new cataloguing and research section of the Library will free the existing upstairs level for convening sessions of Schumacher College for New Economists, starting in September.
The architect’s drawings are complete. Since much of the infrastructure is already in place, our contractor estimates a manageable cost of $200,000 to finish the 1,600 square feet to specifications.
Each $100 donation, earmarked for a square foot of library renovation, will help create a secure new home for our books.
Help us steward the founding literature of the new economy and create space for a new generation of economic pioneers.