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A great many improvements have been made in University buildings during the summer, the most important of which have been the changes in the University Library, Boylston Hall and the Hemenway Gymnasium. Unfortunately the first and last named buildings, which are used by the greater part of the members of the University are still some distance from completion. A description of the changes is given below.
During the summer, work has been carried on steadily in the Library, but it is not yet finished, though the contract called for its completion by the opening of the college year. When the Library is finally opened for general use, it will be found very materially altered from last year.
The new plan will give by the removal of the lower alcoves in the delivery room, increased space for the card-catalogue and the public; but the great change will consist of the complete reconstruction of the interior of the original Gore Hall building. This structure has been stripped to the bare walls. A three story stack will be placed in the lower portion of the empty shell, which will bring the second story of the stack on the level of the delivery room floor. Space will be taken out of this second and third floor of the stack for a staircase to the reading room. This new apartment vestry in the upper stack, will have a new roof for its ceiling, which will have a skylight running its whole length. This roof will be as far above the floor of the new reading room, as the suspended plaster ceiling was above the old one. The windows will be stripped of their old tracery and diamond lights, and fitted with clear glass. Tables with reading rack and swivel chairs will give space for readers twice in number of those hitherto accommodated. There will also be ample space for current periodicals and the reference and "reserved" books. An elevated desk near the stairway will give a commanding position to the keeper of the room. There will be between the towers small consultation rooms at each end of each floor of the new stack. A door will connect the reading room with the apartment over the delivery room, affording additional space for books and readers. The old boiler room (beneath the delivery room) will be fitted for newspapers and pamphlets. The entire building, new and old, will be wired for electric bulbs, 1,200 in number.
These changes will allow the classifications of the collection to be completed, but the space for doing it is still contracted, and the books will be slowly returned from the books will be slowly returned from the outer depositories. Enough additional shelving is secured to prevent crowding for a few years only; and there will still exist the urgent necessity for a new and extensive reading room outside the present walls. Such a structure should also give increased accommodations for official quarters and professors' rooms. When ultimately this new reading room is secured, the three-story stack in Gore Hall can be carried up four more stories, thus making it the chief store-room of the collections. The plan now in progress seemed under the circumstances, the most advisable method of securing the temporary relief, for which the call was imperative. Very little of the $50,000 which the changes may cost will be spent in a way to be ultimately sacrificed, as almost all of the work will make part of the future seven-story stack. BIE
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