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A Good Symbol for BYU

Every school has its symbols–the mascot, the official seal or crest, and of course the team logo. There are honorary symbols: Tulane has a presidential mace and Columbia’s Law Library has the Crown of King’s College. Here in the Lee library we think we have a good symbol for BYU. We have the worn steps.

In 1961 the university opened its new library, and for fifty years students and faculty have walked up and down the stairs searching for knowledge. Young students, and then their children, and now their grandchildren all found a place to study, to learn, and to make lifelong friends thanks to those stairs.

Tomorrow we will be celebrating fifty years of the Harold B. Lee Library. We’re hosting a lecture and a reception. We have an exhibit of artifacts the library has collected and preserved. We are touting our millions of books and our wide range of electronic systems that provide scholarly content in an instant. Students now come to the library looking for wireless access and advice on research as much as they look for books. But the real value of the library can be measured by the depth of the footprints on the stairs. It can be measured by the many people whose feet wore down those stairs before they went out to live what they learned here at BYU.

We know it’s not the kind of symbol you can print on a t-shirt. But we like it.