Librarian Considers Proposal To Install Carpeting in Lamont

Squeak. Squeak.

Lawrence J. Kipp. recently-appointed College librarian, said yesterday he is considering a proposal from library staff to carpet Lamont Library.

Kipp said if he approves the recommendation, work will begin this summer at an estimated cost of $50,000, depending on the amount of floor space to be carpeted.

Jane R. Morhardt, assistant librarian of Lamont, said yesterday notes in the library's suggestion box indicate students' largest complaint about Lamont is the squeaky floors.

Morhardt said carpeting the library is an issue library staffers also "feel very strongly about."

Jack Curtis, an architectual acoustic engineer at Cambridges, Bolt, Branick and Newman in Cambridge--known worldwide as the leading firm in architectural acoustics--said yesterday carpeting "reduces the level of the noise in the space and reverberant character of the space."

Curtis said that carpeting the floor, rather than the walls or ceiling, to reduce noise levels, "gives you an extra advantage. It's like taking everyone's shoes off," he added, "you get rid of noise from chair scraping and book carts."


Curtis said carpeting a building like Lamont would reduce "the liveliness" of the building's interior, adding that "noise will be 'swallowed up' by the carpeting and dissipated in the form of heat.'"

In a 1949 article in the "Harvard Library Bulletin" discussing the opening of Lamont, one of the building's architects wrote "every effort was made to provide quiet floors and sound-absorbing ceilings."

"If the solutions to these problems are not successful, it is not through lack of attention to them," the architect wrote.

Students questioned yesterday disputed the success of the architect's attempts to make the building quiet, saying they found the "squeaky" floors distracting. Some students said the $50,000 could be used in better ways, however.

"It's the best news I've heard in a long time," Anthony M. Spaniola '81 said yesterday. "I remember walking in here at the beginning of my freshman year and thinking how stupid it is for a library to have a noisy floor."

"It makes no sense a all," Spaniola added.

George P. Bayliss '82 said yesterday "I get more bothered when I squeak than when other people squeak."

Susan M. Collins '80 suggested that the money be spent to replan study areas more removed from the stacks. "If they're going to spend any money at all, they should selectively carpet," she added.

Other students were less enthusiastic. "No matter what they do," said Joshua R.M. Korzenik '79-4, "Lamont will still be Lamont."