Yale librarians debut new journal

Yale’s libraries don’t just shelve volumes; they also publish their own.

The first issue of the Yale Library Studies journal, a new annual publication put together by the University’s librarians, faculty, related experts and invited authors, was released this month. The journal replaces its biannual predecessor, The Yale University Library Gazette, which was in publication between 1926 and 2008, said Geoffrey Little, editor of the new journal.

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According to its founder, former University Librarian Alice Prochaska — who also wrote the journal’s forward — the initial goal was to expand the relatively limited audience of the Gazette. The new bound format, which is thicker than the magazine-like Gazette, has also allowed the library to include more content and academic research in its annual publication.

“There was a certain amount of talk among library circles that the quality of the articles was sometimes great and sometimes not so great,” Prochaska said of the Gazette. “So it was patchy.”

To give coherence and consistency to the journal and attract readers who otherwise might not pay attention to the journal, Prochaska decided to give each volume a theme: This year’s is the architecture of Yale’s libraries .

“We’ve already heard from [The New Yorker architecture critic] Paul Goldberger ’72 with words of high praise,” Prochaska said.

Contributors to the inaugural issue include Yale School of Architecture Dean Robert A.M. Stern ARC ’65 and the late Charles Gwathmey ARC ’62, who renovated Paul Rudolph Hall and designed the Jeffrey H. Loria Center. His piece, “Reconstituting the Legacy,” was completed just two months before he passed away last August.

“I was happy to flesh out the details of my knowledge because I love the architecture of Yale’s libraries so much,” Stern said. Prochaska approached Stern last year asking him to expand a speech he had delivered at the dedication of Bass Library in 2007.

Stern’s 46-page piece, “Library Architecture at Yale,” details in full the development of Yale’s libraries and reactions to their aesthetics.

Though Stern declined to name his favorite library on campus, he said discerning readers may be able to detect “a certain enthusiasm” for some libraries over others.

“I certainly hope people will read the issue,” said Margaret Powell, the executive director of Yale’s Lewis Walpole Library in Farmington, Conn. Powell contributed a piece about the library’s recent renovation project, titled, “Twice Borrowed: The Arches and Pinnacles of Strawberry Hill.”

The renovation project’s architect, Mark Simon ARC ’72, who also contributed to the journal, said he thinks it is important to document the unique architectural challenges of renovating the historic structure.

The journal’s editorial board has already chosen next year’s theme — collectors and collecting at Yale — and is currently tapping potential contributors, Little added.

“We’re looking at exploring the stories of the collections and the individuals who have given them to Yale,” he said.

The first volume of Yale Library Studies can be purchased for $50 through the Yale University Press and, starting Jan. 31, on Amazon.com.

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