Lucas Holter

A month after students protested Bass Library’s upcoming closure for renovations, the Yale College Council is planning to add new resources to the honorary undergraduate library — including a test prep area and free umbrella station — both available for checkout at the Bass Circulation Desk.

The two branches of the YCC initiative, which began as separate ideas, will launch on April 18. A YCC report on pre-law resources published in January 2018 identified a need for additional resources, including additional test prep materials, for all undergraduate students applying to law school. Another YCC member developed the idea for the umbrella checkout program modeled after a similar program at Cornell University.

“We want to level the playing ground of students applying to all sorts of graduate school at Yale regardless of financial background,” said YCC president Saloni Rao ’20.

Taking both the report’s recommendations and other student input into consideration, YCC Senator Nathalie Beauchamps ’21 spearheaded the project to add free test prep resources — including LSAT, MCAT, GMAT and GRE materials — available for checkout to all students.

“Buying test prep books can add up,” Beauchamps said. “It can be expensive, so students preparing for graduate school and having to study for entry-level tests can use test prep books [for free], which is pretty exciting.”

According to Beauchamps, before the new initiative, the only test prep material available to students in the library system was “maybe one MCAT book from 2009.” The plan, which drastically increases Bass’s previously nonexistent collection of test prep materials in circulation, is funded through a combination of YCC’s internal endowment and Kaplan Test Prep.

The books will be on reserve at Bass so that students can check them out for two hours at a time and photocopy them so that they can write on the materials

The other facet of the Bass resources initiative, the umbrella checkout service, stemmed from a conversation YCC Student Life Director Grace Kang ’21 had with a friend at Cornell about its libraries’ umbrella checkout system.

“When students are in Bass and it starts pouring outside and students [are] underground, so they don’t know [that it is raining], they [shouldn’t] have to walk back drenched,” Kang said.

Upon returning to Yale, Kang and YCC met with staff at Bass facilities, who, according to Kang and Rao, were eager to help implement an umbrella checkout program at Yale. As a result, they ordered umbrellas which will be available for all students to checkout for 24 hours at a time.

“It seems small, but it’s trying to fulfill the different and various needs of students with the resources we have available,” Rao said. “In past years, we’ve written reports, we’ve … struggled to make actionable changes. This year, we want to make tangible changes and be more responsive to student needs, which I think we have done.”

Eventually, YCC decided to combine the two projects — both aimed at improving resources available to students at Bass — into an joint initiative.

According to Rao, the project runs parallel to YCC’s response to the controversial renovations at Bass Library both in responding to student input and reshaping Bass’s role as a study space central to Yale students’ lives.

“Bass is such an integral part of many students’ daily lives here at Yale,” said YCC Vice President Heidi Dong ’20. “The recent student activism has shown how important Bass is to many Yalies, and I think it’s exciting that these new services will be added for student benefit — it will make Bass an even better resource for students.”

The Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Library was built in 1971.

Phoebe Liu | phoebe.liu@yale.edu