Sterling Library’s L&B Room, a campus gem, slated for renovation

  • Rendering of renovated entry with windows and arched entrance and view into main reading room area through arches
    Renovated L&B Room entrance, rendering by Apicella + Bunton
  • Monochrome image of a room with arched entrance, librarian desk and other old-fashioned furnishings.
    Historic photo of L&B Room entrance, ca. 1930, before two of the three arches were blocked
  • monochrome photo of library reading room with bookshelves, couches, chairs, and chandeliers
    Historic photo of L&B Room, ca. 1930
  • Monochrome photo with couches, upholstered chair, and lamp facing stone fireplace
    Historic photo of L&B Room furnishing, ca. 1935
  • Architect's rendering of two seated people talking in a booklined alcove with view into the library reading room.
    L&B lounge alcove, rendering by Apicella + Bunton
  • Architect's rendering of high-ceilinged, booklined reading room with Gothic windows, chandeliers green couches and library tables
    L&B Room at entry, rendering by Apicella + Bunton
  • Architect's illustration of a large booklined reading room with upholstered couches, chandeliers, and Gothic style windows.
    L&B Room at midpoint, rendering by Apicella + Bunton
  • Rendering of a view into study alcove with two people seated at a table in front of Gothic style windows
    L&B Room showing alcove with work table, rendering by Apicella + Bunton
November 10, 2021

A planned renovation of the iconic Linonia and Brothers Reading Room in Sterling Memorial Library aims to strip away decades of grime and modernize 90-year-old infrastructure—while maintaining the room’s old-fashioned charm.

With booklined study alcoves, an ornate ceiling, and gothic style windows overlooking the library’s Selin Courtyard, the space, commonly known at the L&B Room is a quintessential library space that many current students have never seen. The room has been closed to patrons since the beginning of the pandemic because its 1930s mechanical systems could not reliably maintain COVID-era air circulation if the room were fully occupied.

In addition to energy-efficient new heating and cooling systems, the renovation will update the room’s wiring and add the plentiful electrical outlets required by laptop users. The most visible change will be reopening several archways that were blocked off in an earlier renovation to create the small room currently occupied by the library’s Bibliographic Press. Removing those barriers will restore the room’s original sightlines and flow of natural light.

“Libraries need warm and inviting spaces like the L&B Room where students and faculty can relax with a good book in a comfortable chair,” Barbara Rockenbach, the Stephen F. Gates ’68 University Librarian told Yale News. “Our aim for this project is to improve the space while maintaining its traditional character and charm. We hope it will bring back fond memories of the past while also feeling fresh and exciting.”

Scroll through the  image gallery above for historic photos of the space and architectural renderings of the renovation by Apicella + Bunton.

Read the Yale News story by Mike Cummings.