Sterling Memorial Library
Located in the heart of today’s Central Campus, the Sterling Memorial Library is one of Yale’s most prominent buildings, as well as being the largest of all the Yale libraries. Completed in 1930, it was designed by architect James Gambell Rogers (Yale Class of 1889) and later named for its benefactor, John William Sterling (Yale Class of 1864). It currently houses approximately 4 million volumes on 16 floors of book stacks. It was built in the Collegiate Gothic style, resembling a European Gothic cathedral, with its 60-foot ceiling, cloisters, clerestory windows, side chapels, and a circulation desk altar. The stained glass windows throughout the building, 3,300 in all, were designed by artist G. Owen Bonawit. SML houses the Irving S. Gilmore Music Library, added in 1998, as well as numerous reading rooms and departments. From early June 2013 until the fall of 2014, the nave area of SML will be undergoing a major renovation.
An accessible entrance faces Cross Campus. Please ring doorbell for assistance. An elevator is located straight back from the main entrance. Men’s and women’s accessible bathrooms are on the ground floor in the Music Library and downstairs in the Wright Reading Room.
Special note for tours: During construction, non-Yale tours will not be allowed to enter the Sterling Memorial Library.
After 6:00 p.m., a Yale ID card or a library-issued pass is required to enter the building. Before 6:00 p.m., the library is open to the public. See the library hours section above for the full hours of operation.
A library-issued stacks pass, borrowing pass, or a current Yale ID is required to enter the stacks in SML.
From the New Haven Green or Phelps Gate on Old Campus, take College Street north to Elm Street. Make a left onto Elm Street. Go past Calhoun College and Berkeley College (on your right). At High Street, turn right and follow the cement pathway. The Women’s Table sculpture on your right and Sterling Memorial Library will be to the left.