Otis Baker

As part of the larger project for the Center for Teaching and Learning, the Irving S. Gilmore Music Library within Sterling Memorial Library celebrated the completion of its own renovations last week.

The music library now includes two new seminar rooms on the second floor, equipped with pianos and state-of-the-art audiovisual technology that will allow for laptops to connect to an 80-inch monitor. In addition, a high-definition audio system in each room will be installed in the coming months.

Planning discussions for the project began in May 2015, though construction didn’t begin until June of the following year. Key collaborators were Newman Architects, which also designed the Center for Teaching and Learning, and Standard Builders.

“The renovation has really strengthened what we already wanted and believed that the library should be doing,” said Jonathan Manton, music librarian for access services. “It’s really going to make our engagement with patrons and students that much stronger. It really has ticked most of the boxes of what we wanted. In fact, I can’t think of many that it hasn’t.”

The budget for the project was included in the larger Center for Teaching and Learning construction and is estimated at $10 million total.

Eliza Hopkins ’17 said that while the library itself has retained its previous appearance, the new entrance on York Street provides a convenient entry point for many students. Hopkins has worked as a circulation desk assistant at the Music Library for three years.

Following the renovation, Manton and other service librarians’ offices are now closer to the circulation desk. Manton said that further developing the “service-driven model” of the Music Library by better facilitating interactions with patrons was crucial to the redesign.

“We fortunately always had an environment that was very large, open and inviting,” Manton said. “The older spaces were looking a little dated in certain parts. We were really focused on something where the services, staff and patrons were all clearly well-connected.”

Historically, the Music Library has moved to several locations due to its ever-increasing size. In 1902, the first music collection at Yale was created and stored in a single room in the Department of Music on College Street. Fifteen years later, the collection was moved to the then newly constructed Sprague Hall. The library continued to shift locations until it found a permanent home in the Sterling Memorial Library in 1998.

Throughout the construction, the library was accessible to patrons through a fire exit door located in the back of the building. While the building has more or less retained the same amount of space post-construction, the layout has changed.

Some previously occupied rooms that connected to the stacks were converted into seminar rooms intended for educational purposes. Additionally, the interior corridor that used to serve as the entrance of the Music Library was converted into a part of the Center for Teaching and Learning.

Amanda Patrick, director of communications for the Yale University Library, said she expects future collaboration between the library and the Center for Teaching and Learning. She added that the Center for Teaching and Learning’s “innovative” approach to education and service could enrich the library’s interactions with its patrons.

Manton said that even in the initial weeks of working alongside one another, the Music Library and the CTL have had a taste of what future interactions might entail.

“Even in the week or so that we’ve been neighbors, we’ve had conversations with people in CTL and there’s just clear overlaps in terms of what we’re doing, how we’re working and what our priorities are,” Manton said. “So it’s clear that the skill sets in the library and the CTL working together will be largely beneficial to both of us. They have instructional design and technology that we have in the library in terms of learning and teaching how to get access to materials.”

To adapt to its current holdings, the renovated library features other integrative audio and visual technology, such as a refurbished exhibition space in the main corridor of the entrance. The display area currently features “A Riff on Ruff: Yale’s Jazz Ambassador to the World,” which celebrates the 85th birthday of Willie Ruff, a professor at the School of Music.

In conjunction with the exhibit, Ruff will speak on Feb. 16 about an interview series he conducted in 1974 with notable jazz musicians.