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Quad’s Central Library To Close

Administration cites budget, social spaces as reasons for the restructuring

By Bita M. Assad and Ahmed N. Mabruk, Crimson Staff Writerss

Stemming from budget shortfalls and University-wide measures to rein in spending, the Quad Library will discontinue service at the end of this semester, according to Harvard College Library spokeswoman Beth S. Brainard.

Though the Quad Library’s book collection will be redistributed, its reading room will remain open.

“We’re exiled as it is,” said Jon T. Staff ’10, a resident of Currier House. “Taking our books away doesn’t seem right, especially at a great university where we’re supposed to be spending most of our time with books.”

Faculty of Arts and Sciences Director of Communications Robert P. Mitchell cited low student usage and the need for more social spaces for student groups as the reasons for the Quad Library’s closing in a pre-released statement to The Crimson.

In the statement, Mitchell emphasized that the closing serves to “re-purpose” the Quad Library’s space.

“The space freed up by this move —nearly 10,000 square feet—provides Harvard College with the opportunity to provide study and large event social space for undergraduates,” Mitchell wrote.

Despite high-profile College initiatives in recent years to construct these campus-wide social spaces—including the Cambridge Queen’s Head Pub and the Student Organization Center at Hilles—there remains a dearth of such venues that aim to accommodate large-scale extracurricular and social events.

The issue of social spaces aside, Brainard noted that “closing the Quad library was part of our budget-reduction scenario.”

Other campus libraries have already felt the effects of fiscal belt-tightening. In some House libraries, tutors have had to cut back on hours and hire fewer students.

According to Brainard, HCL will have to reduce its operating budget by 15 percent and plan for an additional 16 percent reduction over the course of the next two years.

Though the recent merger of four science libraries, announced last month, was not motivated by costs, both that consolidation and the Quad Library’s closing mark the College administration’s attempts to maximize library efficiency.

Closing the Quad Library will allow the College “to shift resources to support library programs that are more heavily used by students,” according to Mitchell’s statement.

—Staff writer Bita M. Assad can be reached at     —Staff writer Ahmed N. Mabruk can be reached at

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