August 2016 Archives

August 1, 2016

Following a yearlong major renovation to update the library’s mechanical systems and to provide enhanced facilities for supporting research and teaching, the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library will reopen to the public on Tuesday, September 6th.

In addition to major upgrades to the library’s physical, mechanical, electrical, plumbing, fire protection, and security infrastructure, the building’s heating and air conditioning systems were also replaced. Bronze and marble features were refurbished on the interior and exterior of the building, and the Noguchi Sculpture Garden was restored. To enhance teaching while using the collections, two new classrooms have been added, and state of the art technology has been installed in the classrooms and teaching spaces. 

A public open house will be held on Saturday, October 8th, to offer the New Haven community a chance to see the space up close.  

Two semester-long exhibitions open on September 23rd. Recent Acquisitions features materials procured in the last three to four years, including photographs of Abraham Lincoln from the Meserve-Kunhardt collection; a 13th-century manuscript book of the Gospels; an archive of 19th-century photographs of a multi-generational African-American family from the foothills of the Sierra Nevada; and papers from various activists, authors, poets, and dramatists. Destined to be Known: The James Weldon Johnson Memorial Collection at 75 celebrates the anniversary of the James Weldon Johnson Collection at Yale and features key African-American figures from the Beinecke’s collections. Highlights include manuscripts by Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston, artwork by Augusta Savage and Roy DeCarava, the only manuscript known to have been written by a fugitive slave, and selections documenting the life of James Weldon Johnson.

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August 1, 2016

Yale scholars are increasingly interested in working with the vast quantities of historical, literary, artistic, and musical material that have been digitized in recent years. Quantitative and algorithmic approaches to this “Humanistic Big Data” are promising, but humanists first want to understand the conceptual frameworks and computational tools of these new ways of conducting research. Yale University Library’s Digital Humanities Laboratory (DHLab), founded in 2015 through a grant from The Goizueta Foundation, fosters this important work.

The DHLab, currently operating in temporary quarters on the third floor of Sterling Memorial Library (SML), will soon have a permanent home thanks to the great generosity of University Library Council members Richard ’53 and Barbara Franke. Their gift will renovate a familiar space, the Franke Family Reading Room, named in their honor in 1998. Supporting teaching and research, the freshly furnished DHLab will be a state-of-the-art facility that uses computational approaches to create new entry points into Yale University Library’s remarkable physical and digital collections.

The creation of this new facility dovetails with other major renovations—and temporary relocations—across the library. During the past academic year, the Franke Room has served Beinecke readers while the landmark 1963 building has undergone renovations. In 2016–2017, the Franke Room will provide temporary quarters for Manuscripts and Archives researchers while that department’s space in SML is under construction. By 2018, the final refurbishing will take place, equipping the Franke Family Reading Room to house the DHLab and encourage hybrid scholarship at Yale permanently.

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August 1, 2016

This coming spring, Manuscripts and Archives (MSSA), an important special collections repository within Sterling Memorial Library, will receive its first major renovation. The department houses over 85,000 linear feet (more than 16 miles) of archival material, incorporating the University Archives as well as strong collections in international affairs, contemporary architecture, and LGBT studies, among other areas. Researchers make use of MSSA collections—and the staff who provide access to them—heavily: in 2014-2015, MSSA staff received 6,500 reference inquiries and provided patrons with 55,000 pages of PDF digital reproductions.

The renovation of Manuscripts and Archives will revitalize a beautiful space within Sterling Memorial Library, provide for better stewardship of materials through environmental control and security upgrades, and enhance the researcher experience with improved lighting, reduced noise, and improved consultation space. The project will also transform the former Gutenberg Chapel, originally the purpose-built home in Sterling Memorial Library for Yale’s Gutenberg Bible, into a secure classroom to meet increasing faculty demand for teaching with Manuscripts and Archives collections. The non-functional stone fireplace in the future classroom will be lifted to create a door into the Linonia & Brothers Reading Room (L&B)

This important renovation will require significant investment from Yale alumni and friends, and fundraising is just beginning now. To learn more, please speak with Basie Bales Gitlin, Director of Development for Yale University Library, at (203) 432-9851 or

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August 1, 2016

When Yale President Peter Salovey and Provost Ben Polak recently announced the reappointment of Susan Gibbons as university librarian and deputy provost, they called her a “consummate university citizen” whose leadership has elevated the university’s reputation on the national and international stages. As part of her reappointment, Gibbons is taking on new responsibilities as deputy provost for collections and scholarly communication to support the university’s museums, galleries, and other collections. She spoke with YaleNews about her new responsibilities and her plans for the library over the next five years. Read more.

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