"YOU CAN'T WIN"

In the adjoining column will be found a communication which should be of interest to all such as are worried--if not downright hysterical--about the approaching Reading Period. Coming unsolicited from the head of the College Library, these hints on the use of Widener should, if followed, do their share toward making the first Reading Period a less perilous venture.

But the letter is significant as well in other respects.

Though it is perhaps little realized, Widener serves its community far better than most such organizations. If in the past and even at times in the present, there have been annoying discourtesies and a lack of efficiency on the part of the younger, less responsible members of the Library staff, the same criticism cannot be applied to Widener's workers as a whole. In the Library, like in a good many other places, a customer is apt to receive an ascending amount of attention and interest the higher he seeks it, and Mr. Lane's letter is but another proof that those in charge of Widener are willing to go out of their way in helping the members of the University.

The spirit of helpfulness and cooperation is nowhere so clearly evident as in the policies of the College Library. No other large depository of valuable books is so generous of its treasures. The rules, though they at times seem irksome and unreasonable, are mild when compared with those in force elsewhere.

It is all the more unfortunate that the College Library should have to pay a penalty for its liberality. By leaving so many books on open shelves in its reading rooms, by not employing more hawk-eyed attendants, and by permitting even comparatively rare books to be taken from the Library. Widener loses thousands of dollars. This in itself is bad enough, but when it be considered that no amount of money will replace many of the books, out of print or for other reasons unobtainable, the annual loss becomes appalling. Thus a lifetime of study and research on the part of a scholar may be wasted, as far as the present and future Harvard generations are concerned, by the single act of dishonesty, thoughtlessness, or selfishness, of a single member of the University.

During the approaching Reading Period, it is clear, the Library will be subjected to the severest kind of pressure. The authorities have done all that money and forethought can do to provide books in sufficient quantities. But all this labour can be dissipated by the actions of what must be a very small minority of Harvard men. With out the cooperation, both in the spirit and the letter of the Library laws on the part of the students and if may be added, the professors no amount of effort on the part of Mr. Lane and his assistants will suffice to supply the leading matter for the Reading Period.

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