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The Michael Parry Mazur Memorial Library at the Heartland Institute celebrated its grand opening on Wednesday, May 4, 2016, from 4:00 p.m. to 6:15 p.m. A wine and cheese reception and library tours were offered before the main program began and continued after the formal program ended.
About the Michael Parry Mazur Library
The Michael Parry Mazur Memorial Library, referred to as “The Library of Liberty,” holds nearly 10,000 books on education, environment, healthcare, and other topics. This collection will be of special interest to students and scholars studying economics, public policy, and political science, elected officials and members of their staffs, and concerned citizens. Eight colleges are located within a 20-minute drive of the Heartland Institute, and 20 more are within an hour’s drive. The library contains some out-of-print books and journals unlikely to be found in public or university libraries. Featured authors include William F. Buckley, Whittaker Chambers, Milton Friedman, Friedrich Hayek, Ludwig von Mises, Ayn Rand, Murray Rothbard, and Richard Weaver. A wish list includes the complete works of Hayek, James Buchanan, and George Orwell
Welcoming words from Jim Lakely, director of communications, pointed out the nature of the The Heartland Institute as a national nonprofit public policy research organization, tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Founded in Chicago in 1984, The Heartland Institute is devoted to discovering, developing, and promoting free-market solutions to social and economic problems. According to Lakely, everyone at Heartland had a hand in getting the library ready to operate as a functioning one.
Heartland President Joe Bast: Why Build a Library Devoted to Liberty?
It was fitting that Joe Bast, president and co-author of 12 books, spoke on this topic. 7,000 of the nearly 10,000 books in Heartland’s Michael Parry Mazur Library were owned by Joe Bast before he donated them. As a student in the 1970s and ‘80s, Joe said he would go without eating so he could buy bargain books in a used book store. With such affection and desire for books – for the truth of them – Joe never thought he would give his books away … until he did.
Mr. Bast assured attendees that when books are donated to The Heartland Institute they will be put on shelves so people have the use of them and they will not disappear. It is true that the Internet can be searched for information, but on-line information can be deleted and altered to serve a purpose other than the truth. Also, there is so much information on-line that it is difficult to locate the good stuff, in contrast to a library where the complete works of an author can be immediately viewed. Printed books, unlike an online entry, cannot be edited, and a library becomes a physical place where people can come together without fear. Mr. Bast said he hopes to see a steady stream of people in and out of the building to review the books on site, and take them home when the library is ready for lending sometime in the near future. So let your friends know about it!
Presentations at the Grand Opening
Hon. Thomas Hayes, conservative mayor of Arlington Heights – who participated in the ribbon-cutting ceremony at Heartland’s Arlington Heights headquarters in August – was on hand to dedicate the library. He had kind word to say about The Heartland Institute, noting that Arlington Heights had many attractions, but it didn’t have a think tank within its borders until last year. Hayes went on to say that the concepts of liberty and freedom, which convey Heartland’s values, are very important to area residents. Lastly, Mayor Hayes thanked Heartland for its invitation, and wished The Heartland Institute many years of success.
Dr. John Mazur was on hand to talk about his family and the donation that put the name of his brother on the library. The youngest of four boys, Dr. Mazur brought smiles to the audience by noting he is a bee keeper with “800,000 residents in his back yard.”
Dr. Mazur described his brother Michael as a talented libertarian economist. Very bright and academically minded – having even studied Arabic which, was almost unheard of decades ago – Michael Parry Mazur graduated from Northwestern University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he earned a Ph.D. in economics. He was a staff economist at the Office of Management and Budget in Washington, D.C., serving under presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan.
Michael Parry Mazur passed away in 1987 from cancer at age 39. Before his death, Dr. Mazur said, his brother confessed that the sadist part of his life was not getting cancer, but failing to win his group in the Boston Marathon. Michael had run it several times, and was considered a shoo-in to win, but was unable to compete when he was struck with cancer.
Joseph Davis, an ardent reader and a professional librarian, helped prepare Heartland’s Michael Parry Mazur Library over the last two months. Davis stressed how old books can be just as important today as when they were published. Davis compared books to individuals, much like private actors competing in the free market. Accordingly, reading a book is like having a talk with the author. Books that span the ages produce good citizens, so that free men and women do not perish from the earth.
Diane Carol Bast, executive editor and finance manager at Heartland, is the wife of Joe Bast and was instrumental in organizing the library. She recounted how she never helped Joe collect and organize his library at home because that was his space. So it was ironic she had such a hand in building this one – including an online database from which you can browse every book in the library. There are 16 categories organized by topic, including a Socialism and Soviet Studies section. It is not organized the way a public library is, but is laid out more like a research library. For instance, you’ll see Milton Friedman’s works in the economics section, but also separately in the education section.
The library is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, but it would be best to call ahead before arriving to make an appointment (312-377-4000). As noted above, the library does not yet lend books, but there is a wealth of material to explore and no admission fee. Further amenities include available study space, free wi-fi, and access to copiers and printers.
If you have books on economics, politics, public policy, philosophy, and other intellectual pursuits (including biographies of significant public figures), you can donate those books to the Michael Parry Mazur Library – even if you have notes written in the margins and sections highlighted or underlined. Duplicates of books already on the shelves are also accepted.
Watch below the video of the Grand Opening presentations, announcing the creation of the largest collection of books about free markets and liberty in the Midwest.