The Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library is one of the world’s largest libraries devoted entirely to rare books and manuscripts and is Yale’s principal repository for literary archives, early manuscripts, and rare books.
Built in 1963, this extraordinary piece of architecture is the largest building in the world designed for the preservation of rare manuscripts. The windowless cube has walls of Danby marble that subdue the effects of light, while inside the glass stack tower displays sculptural shelves of books, including one of only 48 surviving Gutenberg Bibles (1455) and original manuscripts by Charles Dickens, Benjamin Franklin and Goethe. Open weekends when there is an exhibition.
In the center a sunken courtyard contains sculptures by Isamu Noguchi representing time (the pyramid), the sun (the circle) and chance (the cube). The library’s 50-year-old heating and cooling systems were completely replaced in 2015–16, and new classrooms were added.
Let’s take a look inside!
You can visit this amazing Beinecke at Yale University: an American private Ivy League research university in New Haven, Connecticut. Founded in 1701 in Saybrook Colony to train Congregationalist ministers, it is the third-oldest institution of higher education in the United States.
The Beinecke Library’s robust collections are used to create new scholarship by researchers from around the world. The world’s largest rare book library has no windows but sunlight still shines through! This amazing design protects precious texts. Marble walls 1.25 inches thick filter in enough light to read by without harming any book.
The Beinecke Library is located on Yale University’s Campus. It was designed by Gordon Bunshaft of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill and completed in 1963. The marble was sourced from Vermont and it is supported by a grid of Vierendeel tissues which transfers weight to the four exterior corner columns.
Among the collection is a Gutenberg Bible which dates back to 1455. The central glass tower is six stories high and houses 180.000 of the rarest volumes. The glass is airtight slow the aging of the books. Unfortunately, some sections are not open to the public. The lower floors, however, are open to the public. Around a million more rare manuscripts and volumes.
It serves as a center for research by students, faculty, and other scholars, whether affiliated with Yale or not. Materials do not circulate but may be used in the Reading Room on the court level after researchers register with the Beinecke.
A revolving glass door provides public entrance to the Beinecke. Upon entering, visitors see the glass tower of books that rises through the core of the building.
Two stairways ascend on either side to the mezzanine level.
Together with the entrance level, the mezzanine functions as a showcase for rotating exhibits that highlight the Beinecke’s rich collections.
The Gutenberg Bible, the first Western book printed from movable type, and Audubon’s Birds of America are on permanent exhibition.
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