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Officials Add New Security For Widener Fire Threat, Bible Theft Spur Action


The attempted theft of the Gutenberg Bible in August and the increase of fires in university libraries across the country have caused Widener Library officials to tighten their security measures.

Increased precautions began in mid July with the microfilming of the Union catalogue and other irreplaceable records. Douglas W. Bryant, University Librarian, said that the filming of the more than five million cards would be done within the next few weeks.

More Security Conscious

"With the incidences of library takeovers and library fires, which may or may not be connected with student activity, everyone is more security-conscious," Richard DeGennaro, Senior Associate University Librarian, said.

"The bible theft also reminded us that increased precautions were necessary," DeGennaro said. Four fights which will remain on at night are being installed in the court area around the Widener room where the Gutenberg Bible is stored.


The attempted theft occurred on August 19, Police believe the burglar climbed down a tope from the roof to a window and broke into the Widener room. He succeeded in removing the bible from its display case but tell while climbing down the rope to the ground.

Under normal security provisions, the bible is kept-in-the-locked Widener room at night and placed in a safe over the weekends. However, last April rumors of a library take-over-led library officials to store the original in the safe until the end of May and keep a copy on display.

DeGiannaro said that the bible, one of the still-existing 47 printed by Johann Gutenberg in 1455 was uninsured. Harvard has a general policy of covering the loss of valuable property with its own funds.

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