Bass Library Collection


As part of the Reimagining Bass Library project, the Bass Library collection will be renewed and refreshed, guided by these principles:

  • Bass Library serves as a gateway to the outstanding collections of Yale University Library.
  • Bass Library holds dynamic and diverse collections across the humanities, social sciences, and sciences.
  • The expertise of librarians in partnership with faculty will drive collection development.
  • Bass Library collections support the curriculum of Yale College.
  • Bass Library collections promote the engagement of library users with the library services offered by Yale University Library staff.

An updated collection development statement will be published when Bass Library reopens after the renovation. 

The Bass Library houses a high-use collection that supports most disciplines taught within Yale College.  The collection is composed of definitive and standard scholarly works within disciplines related to the curriculum of Yale College.  The Bass Library also contains an extensive collection of literary works by major English language authors as well as important authors writing in other languages, whose works are represented primarily in translation. 

New titles enter the collection from three sources:  (1) The Bass collection is home to reserve material for many undergraduate courses taught in Yale College and graduate courses in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.  Reserve titles are kept in the collection for at least three years after the course is last taught, because not only are they typically high-use but they may be needed for a future reserve request.  (2) Humanities, social sciences, and sciences selectors routinely recommend titles for inclusion in the collection based on their content and likelihood of high use.  (3) The library’s English-language approval plan has been profiled to deliver monographs of potential high use. These are typically works that have been favorably reviewed in major book review publications.

Because shelf space in the Bass Library is limited, the collection must be regularly weeded to keep the total number of items below 150,000. Weeding decisions are based on several factors including number of charges, date of last use, and date of publication. Certain categories of material, especially literary works by important authors, are kept permanently in the collection because of their long-term reference value.

Departments/disciplines/programs/subject areas supported

The Bass collection supports students and faculty in almost all subjects taught within Yale College. No effort is made to collect in the areas covered by the Arts and Music Libraries unless requested by a faculty member for reserve reading.


  • The Bass Library intensive-use collection does not duplicate material held in Sterling Memorial Library.  There may be some limited duplication of titles held in school and departmental libraries based on projected high use.
  • With the exception of reserves, multiple copies of a title are ordered only when requested by a faculty member.
  • Works by current Yale College faculty members are added to the collection because they tend to be heavily used.
  • Textbooks for large undergraduate courses, especially in the sciences, may be purchased when there is a request from a faculty member or student.  Key mathematics textbooks are added to the collection because they often serve as definitive introductions to fields of mathematics.

Formats collected

Primarily print monographs and graphic novels.  

Languages collected

The collection is primarily English language although some important works of literature in Western European languages are included.

Subject Librarian: 

Jae Rossman's picture Jae Jennifer Rossman
Director, DASHRS
Department of Area Studies and Humanities Research Support (DASHRS)
(203) 432-1791