Reading in The Daily that the Minnesota library is finally to be decently lighted reminds me that I have been intending to describe some of the outstanding features of Harvard's Widener Memorial Library. About two million of the total of 2,700,000 volumes which make up all of Harvard University's various libraries are housed in a large building on the Harvard Yard which was given in memory of a Harvard graduate who was drowned in the Titanic disaster. The building was completed in 1915 and its pillared grandeur rather overshadows the other buildings around it . . . .
Perhaps the outstanding thing which the new student notices about the library there is its system for guaranteeing that no books are removed from the building which are not checked out in the regular way. At the only two exits are stationed guards who inspect the books of every person passing out of the library to see that no one is running off with a book illegally.
Everyone from the greenest Freshman to most august professor is required to show his books to these attendants as he leaves the library. This practice probably dates back to one of the librarians of the past century who, it is said, knew where every volume was at all times. In fact one fall evening this librarian was seen by one of his colleagues hurrying across the Yard in great agitation. On being asked the reason for his hurry, he said. "Every book is in the library but one. Dr. Jones has that book, and I'm going to get it." The Minnesota Daily