To the Editor of the CRIMSON:
Dear Sir: I should be obliged if you would let me state in your columns one or two elementary facts in regard to the Reading Rooms in the College Library and the conditions under which such rooms have to be used if everyone is to have an equal and fair chance. In the General Reading Room, in addition to some 5,000 volumes of reference books in the east end of the room, from ten to twelve thousand volumes are "reserved" for use in connection with the various courses of study. These books everyone is free to browse among, to handle and use, but no one is permitted to take them away except for use over night and after being properly charged at the desk. Those books for which there is most demand at any particular period are kept temporarily at the desk that their use may be controlled in the interest of readers. When a man wants one of these books he signs a promise to "return the book to the desk before leaving the Reading Room" and he gives the number of the table at which he is working in order that, after the expiration of an hour, if others are waiting to use the book, it may be transferred to someone else. The same rules in substance apply to the Lower Reading Room and to the special libraries.
Let me state an incident that occurred yesterday; the same thing happens from time to time. A man borrowed one of these books about five o'clock and signed the promise to return it before leaving the room. The book was in demand and others were waiting to use it. At six o'clock the man was looked for and could not be found. At 6.40 search was made again throughout the Reading Room, again at 7.20, at 8.00 and 8.30, but without success. At 8.50 the man and the book were found and he admitted having been out of the room in the mean time.
Much as I dislike to upset a man's work, I felt obliged to tell this man that he must be excluded from the reading Room until after the midyear examinations, and I shall do the same in any other similar case that comes to my knowledge. I propose in the interest of readers to put a stop to this practice, to the unauthorized carrying off of books from the reserved shelves, and to all other underhanded or discreditable methods of obtaining an unfair advantage over fellow students. In serious cases I shall not hesitate to post the names of offenders, and if at any time it seems best I may report these cases to the Dean.
It is only fair to the general body of readers to exclude from a reading room those who are unwilling to "play the game" like gentlemen. WILLIAM C. LANE, Librarian.