Bibliophobia

Students Navigate the Sea of Libraries

Some Harvard students make it to graduation without ever setting foot in the cavernous Widener Library, but third-grader Harry J.K. Stevens has already been there three times.

yesterday he helped his father, Professor of Biology Peter F. Stevens, find Traces on the Rhodian Shore in the stacks.

"I'm good at looking at things in alphabetical order," Harry says as he leaves the library.

In fact, eight-year-old Harry is a big fan of books. His favorite is Bill Wallace's Danger on Panther Peak, which was originally titled Shadow of the Snow.

And Harry says he's not at all scared of the dark and musty Widener stacks.

But many Harvard students interviewed yesterday say they are frightened by the library's 10-floor labyrinth.

"As well they should be," adds David Cort '78, who staffs the information desk on the second floor of Widener.

"It's not really a user-friendly or comfortable library," he says.

"As an undergraduate, I was more interested in sleeping [than studying or doing research]," Cort says. "There's no good place to sleep in Widener."

A Dunster sophomore, who says he uses the library as an excuse to avoid ex-girl-friends and his mother, says he prefers Lamont for sleeping and studying.

The Dunsterite says he spends up to six hours in Lamont on a Saturday--of course, that includes at least an hour of nap time.

"If you spend six hours in the library, and spend three of them asleep, that way you feel you're being studious," the biochemical sciences concentrator says.

"It's the thought that counts, really," he says.

The Dunster resident says his whole first year entryway spent most of their time in Lamont.

"Last year was insane. We came here all the time," he says. "It was kind of dorky."