Suppose, entering the 8th floor collection at 6 E16th St., one read every book from the beginning of the first shelf to the end of the last shelf. The first shelf of one’s education would consist of philosophy, from the pre-Socratics to contemporary continental thought. One would then have complete courses in economics and history, sociology, psychology, and anthropology. Finally one would turn to mathematics and the natural sciences, and read the greatest works in world literature and in the arts.
In the past we wrote rather critically about the unfortunate collection in the New School’s flagship fifth avenue building. Happily the situation has been remedied. The graduate school – the New School for Social Research – has its own wonderful new library.
The first book (upper left corner of the philosophy shelf) is The Great Ideas: A Synopticon, an appropriate subtitle for the collection itself. The last volume in the collection, evoking the origin of the graduate faculty and of the library’s own period of exile, is entitled Movable Books.