Harvard University placed brass bars across some library shelves in the Dunster House , Harvard's oldest dormitory. It seems that some rather precious and costly books had disappeared from the shelves. There have been other heinous book crimes at the university — a million dollars of Rare Chinese books took flight several years ago. Another incident—forty-six books and journals disappeared from Harvard's Widener Library. Harvard students are dismayed that these rare books in Dunster House are barred from access—look but don't touch. It's an insult, a heavy handed response. I expect that these same students might not have such repugnance toward the response of a public library if equally valuable books were stored away from the public because of fear of some unsavory book thieves. Crime against books is alive and well in all libraries—unfortunately— Even in Harvard.
The brass bars remain until Harvard finds a better way to protect the books and also allow students to peruse their contents.