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A look inside: Undergraduate House libraries

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A look inside: Undergraduate House libraries

Each of Harvard’s 12 undergraduate residential Houses has a library, and despite their rich histories and outward grandeur, these are intimate spaces. Students spend long stretches clicking away on laptops or fall asleep draped over books during all-night study sessions.
For Taylor Carol ’17, who lives in Cabot House, “home base” is a corner desk in Eliot Hall Library, two floors below his dorm room.
Kirkland residents can be found sitting with laptops and cellphones underneath the antique shuttered windows of John Hicks House, which was built in 1762 and is named after one of two Cambridge citizens known to have participated in the Boston Tea Party.
Like the presidents’ coin collection in Eliot House and the harpsichord in Dunster, unique paraphernalia abounds in the House libraries. Dunster also boasts a beautiful view of the Charles River from a grand, wood-paneled space with stacked shelves reaching the ceiling. Lamps line long wooden tables similar to the ones inside Adams House. The Eliot library has a hushed corner nook with a spiral staircase leading to an even quieter space.
These libraries, wood-paneled and grand or quaint and historic, allow students a calm getaway not far from their own rooms.
— Photos and text by Rose Lincoln

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