Yale Virtual Tour: Libraries

Sterling Memorial Library

“Make thy books thy companions. Let thy cases and shelves be thy pleasure grounds and gardens.”

-Judan ibn-Tibbon (12th century)

Regardless of what kind of student you are, whether you are the self-contained, studious type or a reckless party animal, chances are that the Yale library system will prove to be an essential part of your academic experience (especially during those stressful days leading up to finals). It actually took me a while to discover the great library facilities and resources that Yale had to offer and the following is just a quick virtual tour of the ones students tend to go to most often:

First off, we come to Bass library, the entrance of which is located on Cross Campus. The fact that it’s entirely underground means that you’ll only get spotty cell phone reception at best, even on the top floor. Immediately after you take the stairwell down to Bass, you’ll arrive at Bass Café, where you’ll find tables and couches for people to work together in a more laid-back and social setting. The library itself is replete with computers, printing stations, lots of couches, as well as tables for students to work at. There are individual study rooms that you can occupy (if you really need to concentrate or work in total isolation) as well as group study rooms, which have couches, tables, and even a large flat screen TV (?!?). And if you’re there at the end of reading week, keep a lookout for streaking pundits and impromptu dance parties:


If you’ve ever visited Yale, you’ve probably seen the enormous cathedral-esque behemoth of a building that is Sterling Memorial Library. With its neo-gothic architecture and stained glass windows, Sterling takes you back in time every time you visit. Every time I go there, I feel totally awe-inspired, immersed within centuries of history and tradition. At Sterling you can find gorgeously furnished reading rooms (the green room is amazing, especially if you get one of the little alcoves looking out towards the central courtyard). Alternatively, you can go to any of the other reading rooms or into the music library (which I haven’t been to a lot myself, but I’ve heard good things about it).

At some point during your freshman year, you’ll realize that you need to venture into the SML stacks to borrow some books for a research paper. The stacks are, in many people’s opinion, the sketchiest place ever to study. But hey, if you enjoy studying in utter seclusion, surrounded by almost complete darkness amid century-old books, the stacks may be for you. Here, you’ll find shelves upon shelves of books that you won’t find anywhere else in the world and perhaps no-one has touched in years. If you’re lucky, you might even witness a society meeting or two there. Even when the other libraries are most crowded, it’s usually possible to find somewhere to study at Sterling just due to its sheer vastness.

The best part is, in my opinion, that Sterling and Bass are connected by underground tunnels!!! I had never realized this until a full semester in that the suspicious looking stairs at the back end of bass actually led into Sterling… who would have guessed?

We also get our own personal librarians, who can help us find any article we want for any class on any topic, which makes the entire researching process a whole lot easier. All of Yale’s resources are extremely accessible and very legit. Hopefully you will get to spend a lot of time in these grand facilities (but not too much time!!). Studying in your dorm may be the most expedient choice, but when you want to go get serious work done, I advise you to head directly to the library.

This entry was posted in Life at Yale, Videos and tagged , by Will Zhao. Bookmark the permalink.

About Will Zhao

Hey everyone, my name is William Zhao. I’m a freshman in Pierson College and I’m from New York City. I’m currently planning to major in Classics. I’m a big fan of food, and I can often be found watching the food network for hours on end. I really enjoy fencing, reading, drawing, and I live for awkward moments. I’ve also been working to promote Asian American awareness at my high school for the last four years, and I’d like to stay involved in the Asian American community here at Yale.

3 thoughts on “Yale Virtual Tour: Libraries

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