Yenching Library Shows More Signs Of Identity Crisis

Things are looking grimmer every day at Harvard's Yenching Library.

First, University officials revealed this week that they would happily rename the prestigious East Asian study center in exchange for a mere $5 million contribution. Then library employees discovered that someone had already removed the two large red signs identifying the Yenching which had hung on either side of the building's main entrance at 2 Divinity Ave.

"I guess it must be some sort of message, but it certainly isn't encouraging," Pamela M. Hays, the library's administrative assistant, said yesterday.

Big Surprise

Yenching employees hadn't noticed that the signs had been stolen until they saw a picture of the library's entrance in Tuesday's edition of The Crimson, Hays explained.

"No one knows about any official reason for taking down the signs," added Hays. "It's sort of ominous, I guess."

Yenching employees had expressed disappointment on Monday when they learned of the possible name switch. "If you change it to a typical American name, it would lose some originality," said Sungha Kim, head of Yenching's Korean division.

So far, according to Oscar Handlin, director of the University library system, there have been only "nibbles" from wealthy Harvard benefactors interested in seeing their names where the Yenching's signs once hung. But that doesn't reassure too many people of 2 Divinity Ave.