President Pusey appealed to Congress this week to consider aiding the Harvard University Library as "a national resources." In testimony before a House subcommittee on science, research and development headed by Rep. Emilio Daddario (D-Conn.), Pusey pointed out that the library serves scholars from all over the country and the world.
University officials are now seeking $2.5 million to finance a five-level structure in Widener's central light courts. The addition would increase the library's total shelf space by 13 per cent, and add more than 200 stalls to the existing 370.
Beyond these immediate needs, however, officials are worried about the increasing cost of maintaining the library as one of the world's great collections. With nearly 7 million volumes, the library ranks third in the country, after the library of Congress and the New York City Public Library.
President Pusey said at a press conference last week that the University has "looked everywhere" for funds to finance the Widener expansion, but without success. He said large foundations have so far refused to commit funds for the support of University libraries.
Pusey speculated that eventually the costs of maintaining university libraries would become too great for the institutions themselves to bear, and that government aid would be essential.
"I think there will come a time when the government will recognize that there are a half dozen libraries in the country on which the whole intellectual enterprise hangs," he said.
The college facilities aid bill passed by the House and awaiting Senate action provides funds for construction of library facilities, but only institutions with expanding enrollments are eligible.
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