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Widener Space Deficit Reaching Danger Point


Widener Library is facing a space shortage that may soon become critical.

Richard De Gennaro, Assistant University Librarian, yesterday said the library is rapidly approaching 85 per cent of its capacity. This is the "danger limit" for a classified collection like Widener because space must be kept on all shelves for new materials.

There are two current plans to alleviate the problem:

* Removal of less frequently used materials to a proposed extension of the New England Deposit Library in Boston.

* Construction of stacks in the Widener light courts. Neither of these plans is considered totally satisfactory, De Gennaro said. The first would make the materials hard to reach. The second would solve the problem only temporarily.

Merle Fainsod, director of the Universtiy Library, is heading a committee which will seek a better solution.

Widener faced the same situation in the 1930's. De Gennaro said. At that time, a similar study recommended the construction of new libraries. Houghton Library was built in 1942, the New England Deposit Library in 1943, and Lamont Library in 1949.

That study also recognized the problem would reappear. (The library doubles in size every 17 years.) Thus, when the Deposit Library was blueprinted, enough land was purchased to allow for five extensions.

A fund-raising drive was started in 1963 to finance the light court plan. The drive failed then and the plan was tabled. De Gennaro anticipates no difficulty in raising funds to correct the present situation.

Fainsod hopes his study of the College Library (composed of Widener, Lamont, Houghton, and the Fine Arts Library) will spur the graduate schools to start their own library studies, De Gennaro said. This could culminate in a thorough review of the entire University library system.

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