Among the reports of the various departments of the University appended to the annual report of the president, the statement of the affairs of the library merits special attention. The library is perhaps the best managed institution in Cambridge, and most graduates and undergraduates feel a particular pride and interest in it. In spite of the absence of Mr. Justin Winsor the work performed at the library last year showed the usual advance in amount and efficiency. The accessions were larger than in any year before except in 1888; the number of users of books was larger than last year by 192. But the time is very near at hand when it will be impossible for the library, without a material increase of working capital, to perform its functions as successfully as heretofore. The experience of the past year has only served to demonstrate more clearly, if that were possible, the impracticability of maintaining much longer the efficiency of the library without a new reading room. The more immediate needs of the students in this respect are as well understood as repetition can make them: perhaps it is not so generally known that more room for shelving books is imperatively required unless expedients directly tending to great complexity and loss of light are resorted to. The book funds of the library, moreover, are becoming quite inadequate to meet the increasing demands made upon them. The library is forced to lay out each year about $5,000 for the purchase of that periodical literature which is the first necessity of special research. This expense, which cannot well be diminished, if the University is to fulfill one of its main functions by promoting special investigation, prevents the purchase of as much of the more lasting literature of books as is necessary to keep the library effective. This, says Mr. Winser, is "the main lesson of our last year's experience."
Many interesting statistics are appended to Mr. Winsor's report. The number of accessions to the central and to the various departmental libraries during the year was 16,051, as against 12,253 for 1889, 16,468 for 1888, and 11,924 for 1887. The total number of volumes now in the library is 371,255; the total number of pamphlets, 300,863. The number of books used last year was 92,109, as against 84,191 for 1889, 80,906 for 1888, and 74,902 for 1887. The use of cards admitting the holders to the stack has been somewhat restricted owing to the disarrangement of books which was found to result from frequent handling. About 290 books of those reported missing since 1883 are still unaccounted for; 141 of these disappeared from the reserve books and 149 from the stack. The work of cataloguing has fallen somewhat behind, in spite of the 18,831 hours' work accomplished by the cataloguing corps last year. An addition has therefore been made to the staff of cataloguers. Three numbers of the Harvard University Bulletin have been issued during the year. Five sets of Bibliographical Contributions have also been published, two of them by Mr. W. C. Lane and one by Mr. W. H. Tillinghast.