Three years ago the University began a program of building construction and extension which is now practically completed. The Freshman dormitories were in readiness at the beginning of the last College year. The Library was finished and dedicated at Commencement last June; the Cruft High Tension Laboratory was occupied early in 1915, the addition to the Peabody Museum somewhat earlier. The remodelling of the central part of the Gray Herbarium was completed in the spring.
The Germanic Museum is the only building which remains under construction, and it will be ready early in this College year. This elaborate and expensive construction program has been carried through without any serious mishap in connection with any of the buildings, and constitutes the greatest extension work that the University has ever undertaken in a similar period of time.
Moving of Books Uncompleted.
Even with the continuous work throughout the summer of removal and transfer, not all of the University's books have been taken from the many buildings in which they have been housed to the new Library. It will be probably the middle of October before the last of the books is in the new building, but the libraries of Harvard, Randall, and Massachusetts Halls will all be arranged in the new stacks and the main reading-room. The library staff is established and carrying on its work, and practically everything will be ready for the use of students and professors when regular College work begins.
The new building embodies every necessary equipment and countless conveniences and accommodations for the student in every branch of research and reference work. Two conspicuous features of the Library are a large number of small studies averaging about twelve by fifteen feet, for professors, in immediate contact with the stack space; and a large number of small stalls ranged around the outside of the book-stacks, where students or other research workers can have table room, light and privacy within easy reach of books they want to use.
Outside, the building is about 250 feet long by 200 wide, the front facing north, and the rear entrance being on Massachusetts avenue. The central light court is crossed from front to back by the memorial portion of the building. There are five different systems of floor levels, four of which serve the administrative part of the Library, and that part of it open to the public and to students generally. On the "ground floor" the only rooms for student use are the two large reading rooms for the elementary courses in history and economics, which are at the north end of the west side. The usual entrance for these lowest reading rooms is by a door at the ground level just opposite the southeast door of Weld Hall.
There is another entrance to the ground floor next to Massachusetts avenue, at the middle of the south side of the library, which leads nearly to the front of the Library, past various rooms for members of the staff, to the history-economics reading room on the west; to some of the administrative rooms on the east, opposite President Lowell's house, and, by a flight of stairways leading upward, to the first floor, which may also be reached by coming up the main steps from the front or Yard side.
From the rear of the large square entrance hall rises the main stairway opposite the doors on the first floor. The first flight leads to the Widener Memorial Hall, back of which, on the same level, is the room containing Widener's collection of books and his portrait above the mantel. On the first floor at the top of the outer steps and to the left are the offices of Mr. Lane, the librarian, and to the east of those are the "order room" where books received are checked with the order lists, and back of these two sets of rooms is the catalogue room. To the right from the entrance hall a corridor leads to the offices of Professor Coolidge, the director, and a room for the Library Council and Syndics of the University Press. On the south side of the corridor is the "Treasure Room" where are kept books most prized on account of their former ownership or because of their rarity.
The great reading room stretching along the entire front of the building, is the main centre for the majority of the students. To reach the second floor from the front entrance hall, one goes up the central staircase to the level of the Memorial Hall, and then follows either of the two flights which turn backward and upward towards the front of the building. To the left is a short corridor from which rise the stairs to the third story and at the end of which is a special reading room now used for periodicals. The stack level opens from the back of this reading room. The files of newspapers, however, are on the ground floor stack levels, on the west side of the building.
Many Minor Conveniences.
At the east end of the main reading room is a reference room, off of which is the delivery room and the card catalogue room. Behind the delivery desk a door opens into the stack portion of the building. The book stacks comprise eight stories of steel shelving extending nearly round three sides of the inner light court. Pneumatic tubes lead from the delivery room to various points on each of the stack floors, and cards calling for books are sent out to certain stations among the stacks where boys receive the demand slips from the tubes, find the books and put them on the dumb waiter which takes them down to the rear of the delivery room.
The columns of professors studies extending from the ground floor level to the under side of the third floor are entered only from the stack space. Two columns of them, each three studies wide, are reached by a stair well and elevator which rise from the central corridor on the ground floor.
The classical library, formerly in Harvard Hall, has been moved into the large room in the northeast corner of the third floor, which covers the whole building around the central court. Next is the French Library and then the Graduate School of Business Administration. On the south side is the Bureau for Municipal Research, government seminary rooms, and the German Library. Along the west side is Robert Gould Shaw's famous theatrical collection; then come the Mathematics Library, and study and seminary rooms for Economics. In the northwest corner of the top floor is the Child Memorial Library, (English). And along the north side of the light court are the Sanskrit Library, a manuscript room and several seminary rooms.