The Good, The Bad and the Pusey

Savoir-Faire on Libraries

[Editor's note - Please bear in mind that the author of this column's chief goal in life is to drive the zamboni machine between periods of some future Harvard hockey game.]

You have to believe that I'm trying, I really am, this being Reading Period and all. But is it my fault that some two years and four months since I first checked a Gov 30 reading out of Lamont, I have yet to find a library that agrees with me?

Now I mean really agrees with me, not one where you get through five pages in two hours and then walk away feeling as though you'd just been sprayed with weed killer.

A completely unintentional series of misfortunes resulted in my attendance at many of the University's libraries within the last week-after lunch I'd roam from one to another without ever settling down for more than three and a half minutes, and before I knew it, it would be time for supper.

Here, in brief, is the problem:

Lamont - Any discussion of libraries has to begin with Lamont, especially any discussion of libraries with an atmosphere that resembles the inside of a coffin. The basic problem with Lamont, besides the fact that the lights are dim and the walls are ugly, is that a lot of people around here wear Topsiders, which, when in contact with the Lamont floors, create squeaks that would drown out Ella Fitzgerald.

Widener - Tremendous if you smoke a pipe or feel like a fossil. Actually, it does sound impressive to say you studied here, and there are a few good stalls on 'B' level, but be on the lookout for World War I draft evaders who have yet to find their way out.

Science Center - One of the worst. For one thing, it gets crowded before a lot of people even get to sleep the night before, and for another, whenever you go in there you feel like you're rehearsing for the next episode of General Hospital. Don't worry about it, though, because the place has been sold out through February 2 for months now.

William James [affectionately known as Billy Jim to regulars] - Assuming that you can get into the building to begin with--the main doors are located in such a position that Ivan the Terrible would have trouble opening them on a windy day--the major drawback here is that you get the sneaking suspicion you are always being watched. Sort of like a rat in a cage, if you know what I mean.

Littauer - Studying in the library at Littauer is like studying on an airplane - in one section everyone is smoking, and in the other everyone looks important. It tends to make you nauseous.

Hilles - Much too far.

Boylston - A real sleeper in more ways than one way. Unfortunately, you feel out of place here unless you're proficient in a foreign language, and I don't mean a better than 560 score on your achievement test. Why just the other day a guy next to me dozed off and five minutes later he was talking Serbo-Croatian in his sleep.

Robinson - Particularly recommended for anyone who had ambitions of appearing on a Bicentennial Minute and didn't get the call. I'd be wary on trying to make it to the second level, though. That spiral staircase is tough.

Gutman - Much too official in regard to security matters. Whereas you can convince the checker at Lamont of your Harvard affiliation by flashing a bubble-gum wrapper, at Gutman they require not only identification but your Harvard admissions letter as well.

Winthrop House J-22 - Four major distractions, and a stereo isn't one of them. Barrett's always throwing tantrums and Cadiff around upstairs, Towne's always strumming his guitar, Ballentine's always sharpening his skis and McNabb is just loud, period. Always.