There are a few times a year when the student stress level in the library is palpable. There is not a single open chair and library surfaces are covered with an assortment of laptops, books, papers, and containers of caffeinated beverages (covered of course). In the fall of 1950, one can imagine the tense atmosphere that led to the student newspaper, the Harvard Law School Record printing a three paragraph piece on library courtesy.
Today, students may still fight to get the last reserve copy of a course text but there are systems in place that permit students to renew a book online up to five times, as well as a scan & deliver service that allows students to freely request scanned copies of chapters and articles from materials held at the Harvard Depository and participating Harvard libraries. If Harvard doesn’t have a book, students can Borrow Direct from the libraries of Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, University of Pennsylvania, Princeton, and Yale. This fall, to better support the different needs of students (collaborative work, quiet study. etc.) the library has designated zones for specific activities.