If libraries had feelings, Lamont would probably be very disillusioned. Three years ago it opened its shiny glass doors to reveal a stackless, roomy, air-conditioned interior with comfortable chairs and fiuorescent lights. For years students had complained about Widener with its gloomy reading rooms and cavernous stacks. Lamont was to be different. All of its books were placed on shelves out in the open for undergraduates to take.
They did. They walked right in Lamont and grabbed its books. They hid them under chairs and smuggled them out in their jackets. Faced with the gradual loss of Lamont's books, the University had to give up the idea of an "open library." It placed many of the most sought after books on closed reserve.
Next, undergraduates turned their attention to the comfortable chairs and the fluorescent lighting. Some decided that the buzzing of the lights made them sleepy, and it was very easy to fall asleep in the soft chairs. One fellow even slept through the ten o'clock alarm and had to be let out of Lamont by the police.
Some critics condemned the library's general appearance. They labeled it "cold and sterile." Others complained that Lamont didn't stay open long enough on week days and not at all on Sundays.
In fact, there is nothing about Lamont that at least a few people don't like. But despite all complaints the library situation is infinitely better now than in the years before Lamont:. Then books were scattered in the Union, Boylston, Widener, and Emerson, and undergraduates had even less space to study.
This year's seniors are the only ones who remember, and even they had Lamont for their first reading period. The new library has done about the best job possible, considering that it can't really keep students awake or read their books for them.