Daniel Zhao

Yale’s Center for Science and Social Science Information, housed in the Kline Biology Tower, has opened a new 60-seat study space below its main concourse level.

Developed by CSSSI administrators and librarians in response to the opening of the two new residential colleges this fall, the renovation provides a study space where there were once only bookshelves. The space, which has been open since mid-September, offers an additional 60 seats downstairs from the existing CSSSI study rooms, consisting of clusters of individual carrels, couches and group study rooms.

“We had a soft opening in the middle of September, and instantly, students started going downstairs,” said Melanie Maksin, the director of research support and outreach programs of the CSSSI.

Maksin noted that previously, study areas in the CSSSI would reach full capacity, especially during reading week and finals period. She added that students also have relatively little workspace available on Science Hill.

With several already popular study spaces and group study rooms on the main level, the CSSSI staff hopes this space will help to address the need for more workspaces and to capitalize on the center’s proximity to multiple Yale departments and professional schools, such as the School of Management and the School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, according to Maksin.

“This is a nice space and environment, and it’s very close to the Economics Department, where I study,” said Lucas Finamor GRD ’23, who added that he works in the space almost every day and uses its group study rooms.

At the entrance, library-goers will enter a lounge area surrounded by stacks of books, with multiple couches and a large video screen for messages and updates. The main part of the study space has a variety of mobile furniture, including chairs, soft seating on wheels and tables that can be moved around and reconfigured.

To the side of the large open study area is a seminar room that librarians use for various workshops. Toward the back, researchers can use a designated map consultation room with the library’s collection of 20th- and 21st-century maps, which were transferred from the Sterling Memorial Library, for geospatial analysis.

The space also will evolve soon to include an audio-visual studio, Maksin said. There, members of the Yale community can make videos and other types of recordings.

Not only undergraduate students are enjoying the space, she said, adding that she has seen students, faculty members, postdoctoral fellows and staff members in the space.

The planning and design work for the space started in August 2016, and the actual renovation took place from May to September of this year. Any of the books moved during the renovation are now at the library shelving facility, Maksin said.

The CSSSI has also added a water bottle-filling station in the space, a sustainability initiative that arose from student suggestions, she said.

“For students who have several classes on Science Hill, it’s really convenient to have a new study space at KBT,” said Marina Joel ’20.

According to Maksin, the CSSSI plans to host a range of events in the space this semester, including talks from guest speakers, mindfulness and meditation sessions and therapy dog visits.

“We really want students to make use of the space, and we hope it’s a space that people find useful and feel comfortable in to do their work,” she said.

Amy Xiong | amy.xiong@yale.edu