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BREATHLESS MOMENTS

NO WRITER ATTRIBUTED

Admitted that scholasticism is inevitably associated with a gloomy atmosphere, still there is no adequate reason why students should be deprived of sufficient oxygen to maintain their health and comfort. To be cruclly specific--the air in certain parts of Widener Library, notably the upper and lower reading rooms, is a thing of wonder: it gives rise to thoughts concerning medieval dungeons, and suspicions to the effect that ventilating systems sometimes do everything but ventilate. With all the clever conceits of modern architecture one might reasonably suppose that a pure environment could be provided for those whose lot it is to spend hours over sometimes arid pages. If surroundings influence character, Harvard's contribution to the realm of thought threatens to be amazingly dank.

Libraries may be million dollar libraries but unless they are habitable they fail in their purpose. Widener is a superb monument, and it is unfortunate that details which might be corrected should render it imperfect. The appearance of the building has been criticized but that does not impair its undoubted efficiency: the present ethereal conditions, however, do. So in addition to sweetness and light, let there be air.

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