Lamont Commemorates 60th Anniversary

Lamont Library 60th anniversary

Mikel Kearns, administrative coordinator at Lamont Library, left, offers coffee, hot chocolate and doughnuts to a student as part of the celebration of Lamont's 60th anniversary. The library will hold contests and other events throughout the rest of the year to celebrate the anniversary.

January 14, 2009 - The celebration of Lamont Library's 60th anniversary kicked off January 14 with students enjoying coffee, hot chocolate and doughnuts, and will continue through the rest of the year with monthly contests, events and other programs.

The first academic library in the United States specifically designed for undergraduate students; Lamont was conceived by Keyes D. Metcalf, Librarian of Harvard College and Director of the Harvard University Library from 1937 to 1955, who participated in planning the building as early as 1938. Opened in January 1949, Lamont is named in honor of Thomas W. Lamont, Class of 1892. 

Special events and programs will be held throughout the year to celebrate the library's 60th anniversary, said Martin Schreiner, interim Librarian of Lamont and head of Morse Music and Media.  Among the events scheduled: a "Where in Lamont" photo contest that asks students to identify where in the library close-up and unusual photos were taken; a crossword puzzle/raffle in which students who correctly complete a Lamont-themed crossword puzzle are entered in a prize drawing; and a poetry themed event to highlight the collections in the Woodberry Poetry Room.

When it opened, Lamont held 80,000 volumes held in open-shelf arrangements thought to be useful for browsing, study and research by undergraduates. The library also included three large reading rooms, as well as alcove seating. Lighting, heating and ventilation were all advertised as state-of-the-art for institutional buildings. At the time of Lamont's opening, the library became the home of the Henry Weston Farnsworth collection, supporting non-curricular reading, and of the George Edward Woodberry Poetry Room.

One thing the library didn't include, however, was women. Though Radcliffe students were granted permission to use a classroom on the library's sixth floor in 1964, it wasn't until 1967 that Radcliffe students were given permanent access to all parts of the library.

From 1975 to 2005, Lamont was administered jointly with Hilles, formerly the library of Radcliffe College. The Hilles Library closed in June of 2005. Since fall 2005, the main-floor Quad Library in the Hilles building has been administered as a unit of Lamont, providing study space, access to online technologies, and a working collection of valued and frequently used materials of interest to undergraduates.

Two of Lamont's reading rooms have been renovated and have been dedicated to the donors who made the work possible. The Ginsberg Reading Room (1999) is located on the First Floor and the Donatelli Room (2004) on the Third Floor. Both offer a variety of study spaces to accommodate a range of undergraduate preferences.

In September 2005, Lamont initiated 24/5 service for library users, and in September 2006, the library saw the opening of the Lamont Library Café.

In September of 2007, following the closing of the Littauer Library, Lamont became the home library for HCL's former Social Sciences Program. Four units of the Social Sciences Program—Documents Services, Microform Services, Numeric Data Services, and Environmental Information Services—combined with Lamont Reference Services on Level B to form Research Services at Lamont.