In an interview with a Masters student at the Divinity School, I have been able to discover some of the flaws and necessities of the libraries around Harvard campus.
- The library needs to be quiet to facilitate comfortable and effective studying. The smaller the reading room (or study space), the better. Natural light is key. It is great to have a studying space when one is surrounded by books.
- Favorite Libraries around Harvard: The Law Library, the McKay Library, Andover Theological Library
- There is a library at Dudley House that is rather good. However, the seats are not comfortable. Better support is necessary. Too much cushioning is not unfavorable.
- Browsing. Likes to go browsing for books. What jumps out the most in this case is an interesting title. Call system is easy to understand for those who have worked in the library. Widener’s call system is confusing.
- It would be great to have the reserves list available to everyone who visits the library. It is useful to see what is read in other courses.
- Need to account for growth in the library. Is the depository the way to go? Students won’t need to come to the libraries to look for books if there are no books to browse through. The library then could become just a reading space or studying space and a place to distribute something that you have reserved. But it is important to keep some books in the library to be able to browse and find something you might never stumble upon otherwise.
Suggestion: The movie library needs proper organization. It is unclear how the collection is organized. With music, the library is organized by composer’s last name. It would be best to organize movies by movie title. When searching for the movie – it is usually the title that jumps out.
- There is not everyone who is familiar with Hollis or the most efficient searches. It would be great to have a librarian teach students how to use Hollis. There are people who come to the library who have never used it before.
- If the search system is limited to an online catalogue, the need to come to the library is reduced. Librarian’s job needs to be emphasized. He/she needs to interact with researchers to guide them through efficient way to do their research.
- Libraries need databases that look at certain types of media. Their current option in Hollis is complicated. There are a lot of digital manuscripts in the libraries containing texts that are difficult to take out of the library because of their age and worth. It is nice to have this access, but there needs to be more databases to search for them.
Suggestion: more outlets. From the operations stand point, one of the main student concerns at Harvard libraries is the shortage of outlets.