It's Two Million Books and Counting for BC Libraries

It's Two Million Books and Counting for BC Libraries

It took Boston College 124 years to collect its first million library books, and only 16 to amass the second million.

A first-edition work by Galileo on sunspots published in Rome in 1613 was Book Number Two Million, a milestone acquisition marked in Gasson 100 on Dec. 4 with a talk by Monan Professor of Law Daniel Coquillette titled, "Five Cheers for Galileo."

The 390-year old volume by Galileo, History and Demonstrations Concerning Sunspots and Their Properties, was among books and papers of the late Italian mathematician and astronomer Pasquale Sconzo (1908-1994) acquired by the Burns Library.

Sconzo's work as a scientist for NASA helped put man on the moon. He was among a team of scientists who developed the mathematical calculations needed for successful docking maneuvers by orbiting spacecraft.

His books and papers were donated to the Burns by his daughter, Wega Firenze, and her husband, Angelo, of Belmont, honored guests at the Two-Millionth Book reception in Gasson Hall last month.

The Burns Library, which houses the University's rare books and special collections, has accounted for an estimated 100,000 of the million books added to BC library shelves since 1987.

"That advance has come at a time we were supposed to be downplaying the book and becoming a 'paperless society,'" said Burns Librarian Robert O'Neill.

"Boston College has continued to treasure the printed book itself."

The sunspot study by Galileo (1564-1642) contributed to the development of modern physics by announcing the principal of inertia, which Newton later applied to the orbital motions of planets, firmly establishing the Copernican view of the solar system.

-Mark Sullivan


Return to Jan. 22 menu.

Return to Chronicle home page