Yale Library expands, enhances services for return to onsite teaching and learning

  • Blue and white illustratiion of the front doors of Sterling Library
August 30, 2021

Yale University Library is adding, expanding, and adapting services to support students and faculty as they return to in-person teaching and learning this week. Key changes include:

Library Access
Opening hours and occupancy levels have been restored to pre-pandemic levels, and many spaces that were closed last year—such as area studies reading rooms on the upper floors of Sterling Memorial Library—have been reopened. Library access remains limited to current students, faculty, and staff. A valid Yale ID is required for entry, and masks are required in all library spaces. Additional restrictions apply at some libraries; users should check hours and access for their specific destination.

Beginning Sept. 1, the Beinecke Library’s exhibition hall on the ground floor and mezzanine will re-open to the campus community. Current faculty, staff, and students may visit a new exhibition, Road Show: Travel Papers in American Literature, and a companion exhibition, Imaginary Voyages, as well as view permanent exhibitions and enjoy the building’s distinctive architecture. The Beinecke exhibition hall remains closed to non-Yale visitors at this time.

In other exhibition news, the campus community is invited to view Lux et Femina, Women in Graphic Design at Yale, opening at the Haas Family Arts Library Sept. 10; Women at the Dawn of History, currently on exhibit outside the Babylonian Collection on the third floor of Sterling; and Twelve Portraits: Studies of Woman at Yale, by Tanya Marcuse on display in the Memorabilia Room in Sterling. An online version of the Twelve Portraits exhibition is also available. Physical exhibitions  curated by students will resume later in the semester with the planned installation of Free the New Haven Panthers: The New Haven Nine, Yale, and the May Day 1970 Protests That Brought Them Together, introduced last year as an online exhibition.

Using Special Collections
Last year, the library’s special collections repositories introduced a reservation system to manage reduced occupancy and physical distancing requirements. As of Sept. 1, the Beinecke Library will stop requiring appointments for its reading room, as will the Arts Library Special Collections. The appointment system will be retained by Manuscripts and Archives and several other repositories. Access to Special Collections reading rooms remains limited to current students, faculty, and staff. On-campus users are advised to check with the specific repository for any policy or procedure updates before coming in.

Service Changes
The library will be offering a full schedule of instructional workshops and other library events in a mix of online and in-person formats. Library staff have all returned to work onsite, making in-person meetings and research consultations an option. However, based on last year’s experience, some users and librarians will continue to meet online in order to take advantage  of helpful screen-sharing options. To book a research consultation, please contact a subject specialist

Last year, as a pandemic response, the library introduced a popular mail to home address service for books and other library materials. The service has been extended through the end of the 2021-22 academic year, to gauge continued user interest. One variation of the service—delivery to residential colleges—has been discontinued due to low usage.  

Some processes and workflows introduced early in the pandemic have been ended in response to changes in material handling guidelines. Returned library materials are no longer quarantined and contactless pickup has ended. Bass Library’s program for lending media equipment has reverted to its pre-pandemic scope and process. Physical course reserves, which were eliminated last year, are now permitted for materials that are not available in online form—but online course reserves remain strongly preferred and encouraged.

Many libraries and library departments have resumed library tours for new students and second-year students who missed out on in-person tours last year. Librarian-led tours of Sterling and Bass will begin Sept. 20. These tours are designed for incoming Yale College students, but other Yale students may attend. Advance registration is required.  

Ongoing Updates
Yale Library will continue to adapt services in response to changing conditions, University guidance, and user needs. For ongoing updates, users may subscribe to Nota Bene, the library’s monthly e-newsletter; visit the new library news site; and follow @YaleLibrary on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Announcements will also be posted to the library’s COVID-19 information page. Questions may be addressed to the Ask Yale Library online chat or Ask Yale Library email.

—by Tricia Carey