The Beinecke Library 2018-2019 Annual Report, including stories, statistics, and selected recent acquisitions, can be read and downloaded here:
In his opening letter for the report, Beinecke Library Director Edwin C. Schroeder writes:
The Beinecke Library stewards an extraordinary collection of documents of human culture. Visitors, unsurprisingly, inquire sometimes about the worth of the holdings.
My colleagues and I respond that the highest value of the collections is not merely inherent in the objects or the quantitative measures of linear feet or number of volumes and objects. The primary value here is found in the qualitative engagement by scholars, students, faculty, and the visiting public with materials, on-site and online, and the creation of new knowledge from the collections.
2018–19 was a year of strong quantitative and qualitative achievement, as the pages that follow document. Notably, for the first time we know of in the library’s more than five decades of service, more than 200,000 people came through the doors of 121 Wall Street to visit the iconic building, enjoy exhibitions, attend programs, do research in the reading room, or take classes. More people than ever are engaging the past, in the present, for the future at the Beinecke Library.
One of the greatest areas of growth in recent years has been in teaching and learning in the classrooms on the court level. The expansion of this teaching space was a key goal in our successful renovation program a few years back. It has been gratifying to see how enthusiastically Yale faculty and students have embraced the opportunities available now to use primary source materials here in classes and how integral the library has become to the academic lives of so many on campus.
The excellence of the collections and physical spaces are certainly key to the increase in the number of classes held in the library. Perhaps most essential, though, is the excellence of the staff across the Beinecke Library and their commitment to working with faculty and students.
From the security staff who greet and guide students to the classrooms; to the Access Services staff who organize the materials and the classrooms; to the curators who advise faculty on the collections available and who often themselves teach courses; to the Technical Services staff who ensure that materials are cataloged, housed, and accessible; and the custodial staff who maintain the building – all of the people of the Beinecke Library play a vital role in the work of making this place “an inspiration to all who enter” and in our commitment to being a vital center of scholarship for faculty, students, researchers, and the public.
As ever, I am grateful to all the people who bring this library to life, those who come to study and to visit, those who generously donate resources, and, especially, my colleagues across the library whose labor makes the treasures we steward accessible to all who enter.