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Asserting that undermanning in the stacks is responsible for gross inefficiency in Widener Library, an editorial in the Harvard Monthly yesterday accused the University of "a generally unsavory labor policy. Officials quickly refuted the charges.
"An incalculable number of undergraduate hours are spent waiting for books," the article states. In a claim that three "chasers" are insufficient for ten floors of stacks, the Monthly alleged that 20 minute waits at the delivery desk are not uncommon.
The $40 a month which chasers receive for a 40 hour week is inadequate pay, the article found.
In a parting jab, the editors twitted the University for spending $50,000 for two bronze rhinoceroses to stand in front of the biological laboratories last year. They suggested that the money could have been used for a more worthy purpose.
Keyes D. Metcalf, director of the library, retaliated that three chasers are sufficient for ordinary times, and that there are two extra girls and several more men available for rush hours. Last year, he said, a careful check-up revealed that 12 minutes is average waiting time for books.
Such a delay is unavoidable in a library as large as Widener, he added.
Officials Deny Underpaying
Officials refuted charges that chasers are underpaid, and stated that they receive $47.50 a month for a 39 hour week, not $40.00 for a 40 hour week as the Monthly editors charged. This compares favorably with wages paid at other libraries, they said. At the New York Public Library $45 is the monthly wage.
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