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