May 16, 2022

Yale Students Aren’t Ready to Close the Book on the School’s Libraries Just Yet

From The Washington Post:

At a forum in January, Yale’s top librarian outlined a seemingly uncontroversial proposal: to relocate tens of thousands of books from the heart of the undergraduate library to make space for additional seating. The librarian, Susan Gibbons, said declining circulation and the recent increase in the size of the student body justified the plan, which would reduce the print holdings in Bass Library from 150,000 books to 40,000.

The proposal prompted an angry response from students, who framed the move as an assault on “book culture” that would make it harder to browse research materials. Others worried about having to find other study spaces with the library closed for renovations during the fall 2019 semester.


“It’s astonishing to me how many people care about using books in the shelves,” said Leland Stange, a senior humanities major from Oklahoma who spearheaded the student movement. “I’ve been personally approached by dozens of students who give these wonderful personal stories about how important it is to them to have physical space for browsing.”


In response to the uproar, Gibbons in February announced an updated renovation plan under which the library would keep 61,000 print volumes rather than 40,000. A new timeline for the project guaranteed the library would reopen before the start of the fall semester. Gibbons also circulated an Excel spreadsheet for students and professors to use to indicate which volumes they want to keep in the library.

Read the Complete Article

Yale University’s Planned Renovation of Bass Library Draws Ire from Students (via Fine Books and Collections)

See Also: Yale Students, Officials Clash Over Future Of On-Campus Library (February 13, 2019)

Yale Announces Renovation Plans for Bass Library (August 2018)

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.