Attempting to cope with the rapidly expanding stock of books which have overflowed available shelf space, Widener and ten other Boston libraries are cooperating in the construction of a new library for the storage of little used books and periodicals.
The building, now under construction, is located on Western Avenue back of the Busness School, and should be finished sometime this winter, according to Keyes D. Metcalf, librarian of Harvard College.
Will Rent Space to Members
Incorporated as the New England Deposit Library, it will rent shelf space by the foot to member libraries, which will store on its shelves newspapers, old text books, little used public documents, and extra, old editions of standard books. The cost of storage will be based on the yearly expense of maintenance.
The building, now only half completed, is five stories high and will be built of brick. It will house approximately 1,000,000 volumes.
The University, said Metcalf, was prepared several years ago to build a warehouse for its own surplus books, but realized that there were other libraries in the Boston area, which faced the same problem and would be willing to cooperate.
Access to the building's one small reading room may be gained only with written permission from one of the cooperating libraries.
The inter-library messenger service will be extended to include the storage library, and, if there is sufficient demand for a book, it will be reinstated in Widener.
At present, the members of the Deposit Library, besides the University, are: Boston Athenaeum, Boston College, Boston Public Library, Boston University, Massachusetts Historical Society, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Massachusetts State Library, Radcliffe, Simmons and Tufts. Other institutions may join at any time.
It is hoped that, as time goes on, duplication will be found among the surplus books of the various member libraries, and extra volumes will then be discarded.