Yale College Personal Librarian Program

Bill Massa

I am the Head of Collection Development in Manuscripts and Archives (MSSA) http://web.library.yale.edu/mssa, Sterling Memorial Library.  Some of the collections of personal papers I have been involved in helping to acquire recently are those of political commentator William F. Buckley, Jr. (Yale 1950), John "Jock" Hay (Yale 1926 and son of Payne Whitney) and his wife Betsey Cushing Whitney, Louise Bryant (played by Diane Keaton in the 1981 epic movie Reds) and her former husband William C. Bullitt, and former secretary of state Henry Kissinger.  If you are interested in Yale history--athletics, architecture, history of a student organization, an event such as coeducation, or a topic of personal interest--this is the place to come.  MSSA holds vast resources of original manuscript materials (also known as primary sources) on a host of subjects including environmental policy; urban planning; foreign policy; political and social thought and commentary; local and national lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender activism; and, of course, Yale history.  We also have the most comprehensive collection of Yale-related publications of any library in the world.  Our materials are used by students writing for a student publication or a class assignment and scholars doing research for doctoral dissertations, books, and documentaries.  If Yale does not have the primary sources you need, I may be able to help you find them elsewhere.  I look forward to meeting you between now and when you graduate.  In addition to regular work hours (Monday through Friday, 8:30 AM - 4:45 PM), I can meet with you during a meal in the Trumbull College Dining Hall.  Enjoy your four years here at Yale!

How can I help you?

I will:

  • Keep you informed with periodic e-mail messages highlighting new resources and programs especially for students, as well as notices and timely reminders, such as extended Library hours during Reading Week and finals
  • Answer your questions about Library policies, procedures and services, such as RefWorks workshops and Borrow Direct
  • Assist with finding information for your research assignments, by helping you articulate your research question, identify the best sources and formulate your search strategy
  • Support you even when you're not around (on vacation, or away from Yale doing research)
  • Help you when you don't know where to start, or you can't think of what to do next

Things I don't do (but I'll help you find out who can)

I won't:

  • Set up your computer (i.e. NetIDs, VPN)
  • Do your research, make photocopies or write your paper for you (well, we won't find someone to write your paper - that part's up to you - but we can put you in touch with The Writing Center or a writing tutor)