The Mary Baker Eddy Library
for the Betterment of Humanity(tm)
Its physical dimension
by Rolf A. F. Witzsche - Dec. 3, 2002
The library fills the space of a 81,000 square feet building, divided into four floors. Of this space 26,000 sq. ft. are devoted to exhibits and public areas. 55,000 sq. ft. are devoted to a research library that includes 12,000 sq. ft. in book stacks and vaults, public collections, and office space.
The Library contains 7,000 artifacts, 8,000 historic photographs, a collection of over 400 editions of Mary Baker Eddy's principal work, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, that sold over ten million copies, translated into 16 languages.
The library also contains a reference library of 10,000 volumes covering contemporary and historical issues focused on spirituality and healing, with a special focus on women in American religious leadership, and other topics.
The first floor of the library houses the famous historic “Mapparium,” – a 30-foot stained glass globe that gives visitors a view of the world from the inside out. The “Mapparium,” has been a popular tourist attraction in Boston for over 60 years.
On the second floor, visitors will be encouraged to explore their innermost questions about spirituality, while learning about society's ongoing search for spiritual meaning. This will be done in the context of Mary Baker Eddy's quest for lasting answers and healing. In the context of this environment the second floor also houses an exhibit on The Christian Science Monitor.
The library will consistently strife to be a state-of-the-art library and archival facility with an electronic indexing and search system. It will feature all of Mary Baker Eddy’s published and unpublished writings, including thousands of pages of her manuscripts, her letters, and her correspondence, and other related documents.
The only aspect of Mary Baker Eddy's work that will most likely not be on display in the library, will be that aspect of her work upon which everyone of her major achievements has been founded.
It is an interesting irony that this foundational element of Mary Baker Eddy's work will most likely be omitted from the information flow for the simple reason that it is presently not authorized to exist. Thus, society must ask itself one vital question: What is the library intended to accomplish? The entire huge facility has been constructed with the goal in mind to enhance the flow of discoveries. Thus a number of weighty questions emerge: What are we going to do with the discoveries that will be made, and with the discoveries that have already been made? Will we sit on them, hide them, or deny their existence as we have done so in the past? What if the discoveries are of a vital nature, such as those of Mary Baker Eddy's structure for scientific and spiritual development that all of her major works a build upon and become a part of? What if the discoveries are vital for the scientific and spiritual development of humanity as a whole? What are we going to do with them? How are we going to react to them?
In the past, the challenge didn't exist to ask those questions, much less to answer them, but the building of the Mary Baker Eddy Library with the goal to extend the mental horizon, changed all that. The challenge that it poses does no longer allow us to be content with the conventions of the past. It demands that its goal and our actions be brought on an even level.