Anyone who has ever taken a tour, opened a brochure, or googled “Yale“, knows that we’ve got some pretty neat libraries. Take Sterling Memorial Library for example: situated in the center of campus in all its shining neo-Gothic glory, Sterling attracts students, tourists, and photographers. Or if you gravitate towards more modern architecture, Beinecke Rare Books and Manu script Library adds an Avant-garde touch to the central quadrangle of campus.
I thus understandably knew that I would always be surrounded by books during my time at Yale. But what I never imagined, what wasn’t disclosed in pamphlets, was that there are smaller libraries EVERYWHERE. Given their ubiquity, few places on campus aren’t within a 100 yards of a library.
My personal favorite is tucked away on the third floor of La Casa Cultural Center. Past rickety couches from the 70’s and surrounded by posters depicting demonstrations from previous eras sits the MEChA library. While significantly smaller than Sterling, this library contains the books, magazines, and study guides of former MEChISTAS. I guess I’m personally attached to this one because I know that I’ll donate my books to it when I graduate.
A couple feet away from the MEChA Library is the La Casa Cultural Center library which contains the historical records of the house alongside materials donated by Latino alumni over the past 30 years.
Coming in close second is the Women’s Center Library. Stacked in a corner of the recently renovated space, this library includes not only past member’s course books, but also their favorite books saved for future generations.
Finally, the library at the Queer Resources Center was one I just happened to stumble upon. One of my close friends works as a Queer Peer (an organization that provides peer counseling for students in the LGBT community) and invited me to check out the space after it was renovated. Still coated in freshly painted greens and blues, the center houses a plethora of books. There in the library, I felt a bit overwhelmed. My friend and I proceeded to spend the next two hours sifting through books and even stumbled upon a small video collection containing documentaries about queer life. The treasures you can find the library are simply amazing.
Before coming to Yale, I remember always longing for books stacked a mile high amidst a majestic background. Yale gave me that and more. It introduced me to many other smaller libraries with unique histories and objectives. And what was most unexpected for me was that in additional all those libraries already provided, I’ve also begun to create my own personal library in my room with all my past textbooks– I’m rather proud of that one.