Polls Favor Humor in Farnsworth

Farnsworth Room of Lamont no longer serves the recreation-action for which it was created, to Henry James, head library Lamont.

reported that a Lamont Student committee poll has shown that people room primarily for studying, than reading books they find there, spring.

The terms of the endowment deed to be fulfilled, he said, it will be necessary to change the Farnsworth collection include books which students to consider recreational reading. The freshmen, upperclassmen, graduate and Faculty members who announced the poll strongly endorsed humor, and 'new' books. Many favored a wider selection of science fiction, newspapers, art, and photography books in the Room.

These preferences upheld the Committee's conclusion that the Room is used primarily for study breaks when there is not enough time to read a whole volume. Sports and detective stories had unexpectedly little support from the poll, James speculated that the low sports rating might be explained in part by the fact that "athletic types don't come to the Room that much."

Will Request New Books

The head librarian indicated that he will ask the library administration to transfer some volumes out of the room and obtain the kind of books the students want. He cautioned, however, that undergraduates remember that "this is a college, not a public library room." Rather than "Hazel," "Peanuts," and "Captain Billy's Whizband" students can expect Lowell, deVries, and Wodehouse for humorous reading.

When the room was inaugurated at Widener in 1916, Scott, Thackeray and Dickens were read for recreation rather than required course work. At that time "smoking, sprawling and note-taking even for pleasure" were forbidden in the Room. But James noted that "whether the move to Lamont or the more intensive study habits have made the difference," today there is a greater need though perhaps less time for light "escape reading."

About 44 per cent of the students polled indicated that they study in the room, 32 per cent read books they find there, while 11 per cent use it for other purposes, such as napping. Of the 500 polled, about 185 occupy the Farnsworth Room regularly, while 105 indicated they never use it--some didn't know where to find it.

In answer to another question, 78 per cent said they were interested in a "music listening area adjacent to the Room." Although money might be a problem in any case, James said the decision must first be made as to whether the area would be for general College use and thereby financed by library funds, or whether it can be rightfully included and financed under the terms of the deed. He was doubtful that the latter is possible, since the music area would not be within the Room. The decision must be made by President Pusey, however.

Students showed a wide range of musical preference for the listening area: 33 per cent favored symphonies, 23 per cent chamber music, 20 per cent jazz, 18 per cent folk music, and the rest, opera.

James said that he was generally "quite pleased" with the student response. Aside from "a comparatively few silly suggestions such as beds, refrigerators, and rock 'n' roll, the questionnaire was taken quite seriously." And he added that "we'll take the responses seriously, too."