Lovin’ Lamont Livin’

While many students, even at Harvard, tend to avoid the library whenever possible, Diane Tucker flocks there like a bee

While many students, even at Harvard, tend to avoid the library whenever possible, Diane Tucker flocks there like a bee to honey. It seems that what to one undergrad is a place to check email and read for 45 minutes (before falling asleep) is to Tucker a treasure trove. Surrounded by bags of library books and study materials, she snacks on chocolate bars while soaking up natural light and the cultural norms of the Middle East. FM sat down with Tucker, a second year GSAS student in the Middle Eastern Studies Department, to talk about why she’s Lamont’s biggest fan.

How often are you in Lamont?

Virtually every day.

How many hours per day?

Quite a few. I’m a library person. I believe libraries are really good things. This isn’t the first library in which I’ve logged a lot of hours. It’s very important to have a place where one can go to separate work from the rest of life. I think it’s important to have places where great resources are available and that they’re collectively held.

Best time to study?


When did you start using libraries extensively?

In college. Some people can work in their rooms. The library seemed to be an important method—it’s my method of being disciplined.

What do you study?

I’m looking for the relationship between law and aesthetics in the 16th century Ottoman Empire.

Libraries you’ve used before Lamont?

Princeton, Undergraduate library at Swarthmore, New York Public Library, Yale Club Library in New York City.

Why Lamont?

The librarians are superb, and incredibly helpful. They’ve put together a really good collection of resources. There are a lot of new volumes of critical essays and introductions to new theorists. If someone has to take a quick plunge into a research project they are able to do it here.

Most used resource at Lamont?

Hans Wehr Arabic Dictionary.

Why not Widener?

Widener is cold, physically, and its hours are restrictive. Lamont has a lot of light, which is great. And it’s very comfortable.

You’re never afraid that your stuff will be stolen?

I have a lock for my computer, and I just assume that people won’t steal my books.

Before you became a grad student at Harvard, where did you work or study?

In New York I worked in documentaries for the BBC. And before that I was an independent reseacher for some BBC film projects. I did all the research for a film entitled “I Shot Andy Warhol” which was recognized by Cannes and Sundance. For several years I was the BBC’s New York news producer and ran its New York bureau.