Remembrances of things past and past-due



When I entered Reed College in 1928, the library was housed in a couple of rooms on the first floor of the Arts and Sciences Building (Eliot Hall). They were south-facing, pleasant rooms with crowded shelves and a few tables and chairs. I remember that I exclaimed with pleasure when I first saw it. Compared with the little Carnegie library in my hometown, it seemed just what any scholar would want.

The next year (or the next?) when we received word of Mr. Hauser's gift, there was more grumbling than rejoicing among the students. Why-when the college desperately needed money for more important things-did we have to have "a new shack" instead?

When the "shack" was finished and opened, we found it rather impressive but unfriendly compared to the former library. There seemed to be so much uninhabited, unused, echoing space. The library closed at 10 p.m., and the student librarian who kept it open in the evening shooed out any lingering students and locked up. The student librarian on duty at this time was Dorothy O. Johansen '33, and to those who remember her it may come as no surprise that we were soon being entertained with stories of strange phenomena that gradually morphed into a spook who lived in the empty Tower, a Phantom of the Library as it were. I still half-believe in it and never enter the tower without feeling an impulse to look over my shoulder. If it is still there it must be inconvenienced by the 2 a.m. closing, but now it has all those theses to read, and re-read.

Mary Barnard '32




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