March 2020 Archives

March 31, 2020

view from above of two-story study space with hanging lights, desks, computers

A four-generation Yale family has created a permanent endowment for Yale University Library’s Center for Science and Social Science Information — a gift that will support key university initiatives in the sciences and social sciences. The center, which will continue to be located in Kline Tower, will be renamed Marx Science and Social Science Library in honor of the Marx family’s support of Yale libraries.

The gift was spearheaded by Nancy Marx Better ’84, chair of the University Library Council, a longtime Yale leadership volunteer, and a 2019 recipient of the Yale Medal.

“From the preservation of rare books and other cultural treasures to acquisition and management of massive data sets, Yale’s libraries are at the heart of the university’s educational mission — and never more so than in these unprecedented circumstances,” Better said. “We hope that our family’s gift will both sustain and raise awareness of the library’s critical role in teaching and scholarship.”

The renamed Marx Library is home to 12 research support librarians, who serve as liaisons to 26 science and social science departments and four professional schools. Library staff provide research assistance based on deep expertise in science and social science research methods and content, data management, statistical analysis tools and methods, and geographic information systems (GIS). Through its subject, data, GIS, and statistical analysis experts, its central location on Science Hill, and its unique collections of physical and digital information, the library has a key supporting role in Yale’s science strategy as well as the initiative to support data-intensive social science, in which empirical methods and data are applied to public policy and social issues.

Read more in Yale News.

Post on March 31, 2020 - 4:17pm |

March 27, 2020

Exhibit poster

The Gilmore Music Library celebrates the 125th anniversary of the establishment of the Yale School of Music with an exhibition that highlights the School’s early years. Among the musicians featured are Gustave Stoeckel (the first Professor of Music at Yale), Horatio Parker (the first Dean of the School), Charles Ives, and Paul Hindemith.

The exhibition is curated by Richard Boursy, Research Archivist at the the Gilmore Music Library. 

Unfortunately, all onsite library exhibitions are closed until further notice as part of the university’s COVID-19 response. However, this exhibition is also available online!

Post on March 27, 2020 - 11:56am |

March 27, 2020

Arts Library research guides are a good starting place for locating relevant online resoures for Art Practice, History of Art, Architecture, Theater Studies, and Drama. Arts Librarians are available for research consultations.

Post on March 27, 2020 - 2:54pm |

March 24, 2020

text on patterned background: Yale Library Online You have questions. We have Answers. Ask Yale Library

To support the university’s move to online classes, the library has more than doubled the live chat component of Ask Yale Library, from 45 to 91 hours a week. The expanded hours and a new pop-up chat box on the library’s home page are drawing many new users.

“Between March 16, when we increased the hours, and March 24, we fielded 391 questions, of which 263 came through chat,” said Laura Sider, Associate Director of Frontline Services, who manages the service. "During the same eight-day period last year, Ask Yale Library received just 91 questions, 42 via chat."

Eighteen library staff, all working from home, are covering the expanded chat hours.

In the past week, students and other library users  have been popping in to chat with questions that include how to access the VPN, where to return library materials, and how to get late fines and fees removed from student bills. With the onset of classes, questions about how to find and access specific articles and books online are on the rise.

As of March 24, chat hours are: Sunday, noon to midnight; Monday- Thursday, 8:30 am – midnight; Friday, 8:30 am – 7 pm; and Saturday, 10 am – 5 pm. As the semester unfolds, the hours may be adjusted, Sider said, depending on demand as well as ongoing availability of staff. 

When chat is not available, library users may search the Ask Yale Library FAQs or email questions to

Post on March 24, 2020 - 8:46pm |

March 13, 2020

Due to the COVID-19 situation, the Yale Film Study Center will be closed until further notice, along with all other Yale Library buildings. Access to media from the FSC collection is not possible at this time. The due date on every item borrowed has been extended to September 15, 2020.

All Treasures from the Yale Film Archive and Indie Lens Pop-Up screenings have been cancelled through the end of May, and additional cancellations are likely. Please visit the series pages for updates. Print loans are suspended until further notice.

If you have any questions, please contact the FSC staff.

In conjunction with university leadership, Yale Library is monitoring possible impacts of the COVID-19 situation on library hours, services, spaces, staffing, and business functions. Please visit the Yale Library COVID-19 page and the Yale University COVID-19 page for more information.


Post on March 13, 2020 - 9:49am |

August 31, 2020  Most of the Yale libraries are now reopened to Yale faculty, graduate and professional students, and staff authorized to work on campus, with space and service modifications to protect health and safety. The libraries will open to Yale College students who are enrolled in residence after they complete the required quarantine period. See our Library Reopening FAQ  detailed information about library access, spaces, and services or address further questions to our Ask Yale Library service

Post on March 8, 2020 - 5:47pm |

March 4, 2020

Black and white photo of Bessie Jones holding a microphone and singing

Gospel and folk singer Mary Elizabeth “Bessie” Jones (1902 -1984) grew up in poverty in Dawson, Georgia, singing hymns and school songs and learning about music and African lore from her formerly enslaved grandfather. As a little girl walking to school, she saw chained prisoners hacking roads out of red earth under the tack-studded lash of a brutal overseer. Seared on her memory were the fearsome rattle of the prisoners’ shackles and the work songs that set the rhythm for their backbreaking labor. 

In a 1972 interview with jazz musician and Yale Professor of Music Willie Ruff (Yale B.A., M.A., honorary PhD), Jones recounted the experience and performed one of the work songs, “Sink Em Low.” She recalled that "...some of the hands was young and they get on the chain gang and they would beat ’em so bad because they wouldn’t get a shovel full of mud, you know, dirt. They get a little ’cause it was heavy. And, they made this song and they sang this song to tell ’em how to do it..."

Jones devoted her life to performing and preserving African American music and folklore, with particular emphasis on children’s songs and games. Ruff’s interview with Jones, preserved in Yale University Library’s Oral History of American Music (OHAM) collection, is just one example of material presented in “The Struggles and Triumphs of Bessie Jones, Big Mama Thornton, and Ethel Waters,”  a new, deeply researched online exhibit curated by Daniella Posy and highlighting the impact on American music of the three African American women vocalists,

An OHAM Fellow in fall of 2019, Posy drew on multiple library collections, including books, interview excerpts, photographs and other documentary materials to create a rich multimedia narrative that illuminates the contributions of the three women to American music and performance as well as the challenges they faced living through the Jim Crow era of racial segregation and legalized racism.

Interviews conducted by Ruff, Anthony Connor, and Richard Neff are interspersed with a wide range of materials, including YouTube performance videos; archival materials from the Yale School of Music and the Irving S. Gilmore Music Library; and photos from the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library’s Carl van Vechten Collection.

“The lives and works of Bessie Jones, Big Mama Thornton, and Ethel Waters should be celebrated because we live in a world that does not always properly recognize the contributions that African Americans have made to society,” Posy said. “In addition, I think it is important for our country to acknowledge its racial past that continues to shape the present, which comes through these performers discussing their experiences with racism during the Jim Crow era. I'm hoping that people will take the time to read through the exhibit, listen to the audio excerpts of the interviews held at OHAM, and watch the performances linked at the site.”

For her doctoral dissertation, Posy will continue her examination of African Americans and popular culture. She is examining mid- to late 20th century black periodicals and the ways that they have disseminated and challenged social norms regarding race, gender, and sexuality. 

“Daniella’s impressive work is bringing transcripts and recordings to the public that have never been released before,” said OHAM Director Libby Van Cleve. “Some of the subject matter is very difficult—but it’s powerful and important history.”

OHAM, founded in 1969 by Yale music librarian and musicologist Vivian Perlis, is an ongoing oral history project and collection of Yale University Library’s Gilmore Music Library. The collection contains audio and video recordings as well as transcripts of in-depth interviews with composers and musicians across various musical genres, including classical, jazz, and blues. The collection also contains interviews with music producers, executives, critics, and theorists.

-- Tricia Carey

Post on March 4, 2020 - 8:28am |

March 3, 2020

Young actress looks at a bicycle in the film Wadjda.

Treasures from the Yale Film Archive invites you to join us all spring and summer at the Whitney Humanities Center as we screen new acquisitions and recent preservation projects, as well as several films by women directors presented in conjunction with 50WomenAtYale150 as part of a year-long celebration of women filmmakers.

In keeping with Yale's COVID-19 prevention policies, all screenings have been cancelled through the end of summer. Check the Treasures page regularly for updates.

Whitney Humanities Center Auditorium
53 Wall Street
New Haven, CT

What is Treasures from the Yale Film Archive?
Treasures from the Yale Film Archive is an ongoing series of classic and contemporary films in 35mm curated by the Yale Film Study Center and screened at the Whitney Humanities Center.

Treasures screenings are always free and open to the public.

Presented by the Yale Film Study Center and Films at the Whitney with support from Paul L. Joskow '70 M.Phil., '72 Ph.D.

Post on March 3, 2020 - 10:55am |