Boccaccio and Havelock Ellis are being withheld from the student body! So says the November Advocate in an angry and lengthy editorial on "the fussy and old-maidish policy of Widener Library in the matter of lending books to the undergraduates."
Calls College Officers "Chaperones"
Damning the officials of Widener as "chaperones" the editorial writer relates his experience in attempting to take out "The Memoirs of Casanova" in French, which he declared was not obtainable in translation.
He says that he was referred to "the high lord of the filing cabinet," whom investigation has exposed as Mr. W. B. Briggs, assistant librarian. Mr. Briggs offered him the book in Italian, knowing that he could not read Italian, says the writer. When he told Mr. Briggs that he was a Senior the latter offered him the book in French to be used only in the reading room, not to be taken out.
After being balked in this one instance the writer set out to find out what other books were on the "Index Expurgatorius." His investigations disclosed first of all the works of Boccaccio. In this regard the writer says "The policy framed by the maidenly fears of squeamish old tabby cats has reduced Boccaccio to the position in the undergraduate mind of a pleasantly indecent myth."
"The next books I looked up," says the editorial writer, "were certain psycho-analytical works by Havelock Ellis; the catalogue referred me to the Philosophical Library in Emerson Hall, where I found the books I was looking for were some of them listed, but were none of them in the places they were supposed to be."
The writer compares Princeton liberalism, where the shelves are open to all-comers, to this Widener policy. He lays a good deal of the blame on the backs of officials of the library who have taken upon themselves an authority that does not belong to them. "The Widener Bureaucracy" is to blame in his opinion.
Comment on the article was not very general on Saturday as but few had had the opportunity to read the Advocate. Mr. Briggs, when intreviewed, said that he disliked the vindictive attitude of the writer but that all criticism was always to be welcomed. "The Library Council", he said, "is the group to which to appeal for any change in rule and it will give any such appeal its intelligent consideration."
Professor A. C. Coolidge, who is the Director of the Library Council, was reached on the telephone. He had not yet read the article and therefore had no comment to make. Mr. W. C. Lane, the Librarian, also made no comment.
It is expected that the Library Council will issue an official statement in the near future in answer to the attack