Caltech used to have one of the very best scientific bookstores in the country. Three years ago the Caltech administration, without consulting faculty and students, decided to close it down. Not only the bookstore was important to the faculty in their research and to students for the selling of textbooks and other reference books, but closing down the bookstore in one of the most prestigious universities also sends a terribly wrong signal to the general public and the community. We increasingly live in a time where anti-scientific and anti-intellectual feelings and attitudes are on the rise, and where cultural and intellectual values need the strongest possible endorsement from our centers of scientific excellence. Caltech had a model bookstore that delivered to its community of scholars and to the general public the best of our scientific and technological culture. Despite requests from the faculty and the recommendation of the appointed committee, and despite a promise from the administration that the bookstore would reopen, three years have gone by with no credible sign of its reopening. Its place has been occupied by a travesty of store selling t-shirts and flip-flops. Tell Caltech: Books not t-shirts!
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