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Harvard, MIT Strike Library Deal; Undergraduates Excluded

By Angela Liao
Staff reporter

Faculty, research staff, and graduate students from MIT and Harvard University now have free limited access to both universities' libraries as of the beginning of the month.

Undergraduates from MIT and Harvard are not entitled to the new exchange borrowing privileges.

"We are very excited about this agreement," said David S. Ferriero, the co-acting director of the MIT Libraries and associate director for public services for the Libraries. The Institute has been working toward having such an exchange for the past 130 years and has been seriously negotiating for an agreement for the last 20 years, he said.

"Harvard hasn't been interested, but now they recognized that both sides have something to offer to each other," Ferriero said.

Qualified members of the MIT community must go to an MIT Libraries reference desk for approval for privileges at Harvard libraries. Once approved, a student will receive a Harvard borrowing card . Literature describing the details of the exchange process is available at the Hayden Library's circulation desk.

The borrowing privileges extend to Harvard's 12 undergraduate libraries and MIT's 12 libraries.

Cross-registered students are entitled to full privileges at Harvard libraries.

Undergraduates exempt

Undergraduate students are excluded from this exchange program. "That's the way Harvard wants it," Ferriero said.

Ferriero said that MIT might work towards setting up an undergraduate exchange in the future.

"We feel that each institute adequately supports its own undergraduate curriculum," said Barbara Mitchell, head of access services at Harvard's Widener Library. "Our undergraduate collection was designed with our undergraduate students in mind, and we can not handle additional audience. Our services are restricted," Mitchell added.

MIT undergraduates can use the Harvard collection only if they present a letter from an MIT librarian stating that the specific books required are unavailable at MIT.

The current exchange program is up for evaluation at the end of its first year.