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With the announcement that turnstiles and a bronze barrier are being constructed to facilitate the increased precautions which the library has taken to prevent the great losses of books occurring with increased regularity during the last few years, it is hoped that this question of major importance can at last be settled with satisfactory results.
Any doubts as to the success of the policy of rigid inspection for persons leaving Widener must certainly have been dispelled by the findings recently published, that during the summer session of 1930, only six books were lost, as compared with 125 a year ago.
But whether or not the turnstiles will prove to be the most speedy and efficient protection cannot yet be determined. Owing to the fact that officials will be able to watch those leaving all parts of the library rather than just the delivery or main reading rooms, the security of books will undoubtedly be increased. On the other hand, delay caused by only one person's being able to leave the building at a time is the next problem which must be met. Yet the loss of time which will be caused by these measures can hardly be compared to the difficulties caused not only to the library but also to professors and students when books disappear. Time and experience should reduce to a minimum the disadvantage and nuisance necessitated by this protective policy.
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