The Harry Elkins Widener Memorial Library is Harvard University's flagship library. Built with a gift from Eleanor Elkins Widener, the library is a memorial to her son, Harry, Class of 1907. Harry was an enthusiastic young bibliophile who perished aboard the Titanic. It had been Harry's plan to donate his personal collection to the University once it provided a suitable alternative to the outdated and inadequate library then located in Gore Hall. Mrs. Widener fulfilled her son's dream by building a facility of monumental proportions, with over 50 miles of shelves and the capacity to hold over three million volumes. The library opened in 1915, but Harvard's collections continued to grow at an astounding rate. By the late 1930s, Widener's shelves were at capacity. Space was at a premium for staff and patrons as well as books, which led the administration to begin a lengthy decentralization process. Over time Harvard built several new libraries to house its increasingly specialized collections. By redistributing books to new libraries, space opened up in Widener, but it was gradually given over to the growing staff hired to attend to the collections.