I have never met Mr. Roger Pearse in real life, but I am a very regular visitor of his great website, the Tertullian Project, which not only offers a lot of information on the great Christian author, but also an impressive amount of online Patristic and other sources from Late Antiquity.
We have exchanged several messages and I imagine he is a mild-mannered, soft-spoken man, who will not be angry soon. I was somewhat surprised when I discovered that he also has a gift of satire worthy of Tertullian, when he announced the Bloodsucker Award on his blog, which he will award
to institutions in receipt of state funding which in order to make money violate their primary directive; to make books available and promote learning.
The first recipient is the John Rylands Library in Manchester; you can read Pearse’s story here – and he is absolutely right in accusing this institution of obstructing the cause of research.
Unfortunately, the John Rylands Library is not the only institution that forgets that the first and foremost task of libraries and museums is to allow people to investigate things. I can add several museums: cf. this posting about the Bundeskunsthalle, this one about the Louvre, and this article about three expositions in Paris by my friend Marco Prins. Of course these institutions have a responsibility to the tax payer as well, but the demands of a decent budget may never become more important than the institution’s primary directive.