Statistics on the use of the Widener Library facilities during the reading period this year show an increase over the number of books used last year.
The total of books given out in the Reading Room for use in the Library last year approximated 8725 as compared with 8008 in the reading period just completed. Although this would seem to indicate a decrease, the fact must be taken into account that all the books used by the German and French departments were for the first time removed to the German and French libraries upstairs in Widener. Considering this, the figures show an increase over last year's numbers.
One change made this year was the increase of the seating capacity of the Reading Room from 270 to 342, and this justified itself since all the seats were occupied at some time during the day throughout the reading period.
Every evening at 6, 7, 8, 9, 9.30, and 10 o'clock a count was made of those studying in the Reading Room. The statistics thus compiled during the period from January 3 to January 20 showed that high tide came at 9 o'clock each night. The figures for January 3 at 9 o'clock show an attendance of 81; then the numbers run up to a high mark of 194 on January 13. From there they decrease again until a jump on the last night, January 20, when 188 students were in the reading room at 9 o'clock.
It was found that the time when the capacity of the Reading Room was strained to the utmost was in the mornings from 9.30 till 12 o'clock. In the evening, as the figures cited show,
there was never any strain on the facilities of Widener, as scarcely ever was more than half the room filled.
Another departure from former custom was made in the rules pertaining to the taking out of books over night. The general rule had been that reserved books might be borrowed for overnight use after 9 o'clock, to be returned by 9 o'clock the following morning. On Saturday, reserved books from the open shelves might be borrowed after 5 o'clock to be returned Monday morning at 9 o'clock, while those restricted volumes at the Superintendent's Deak might be borrowed after 9 o'clock to be returned Sunday before 2 o'clock. This year, however, these rules were relaxed to a certain extent: books of which there were a sufficient number were allowed to be taken at 8 o'clock on weekday nights, and certain other books of which there were an ample supply were loaned for as long periods as two or three days at a time