Every library, every bookstore offers a unique experience to readers that a website or an online database don’t allow: browsing. Yeah, yeah I know. We browse Twitter and Goodreads all day long looking for books, but how many times have you gone out and read those books you’ve found? Conversely, when that book is in your hand during your browsing how many times have you read it? The latter definitely offers more opportunity for readers.
When Yale University announced it was planning on condensing Bass Library down from 150,000 books to a mere 40,000 students were in an uproar. Cutting 90,000 books out of circulation is a direct attack on book culture, and it ends up eliminating the ability and importance of browsing shelves. When writing research papers, the internet has definitely become a huge help in finding resources. Browsing shelves, however, allows students the ability to find new books and resources that don’t always pop up on an internet search.
Students banded together to make sure this controversial proposal didn’t go through. They began checking out everything including Dr. Seuss to show the need for diverse titles and a large collection. The library’s proposal did change, cutting down the collection to 61,000 instead of 40,000. This cuts out multiple copies of the same books and any books that are not checked out frequently. The new proposal announces that books will be moved from the Bass Library to an upper floor in the Sterling Memorial Library. Students still not happy with this change claim that the lighting in Sterling isn’t nearly as bright and can be more intimidating to new students. Books that do not make their way to Sterling, will be moved to an offsite storage location. Books can be requested and filled within a day, but it still takes away from browsing privileges.
There were also concerns over whether or not these renovations would be finished in time for the Fall 2019 semester. Yale is expanding the incoming freshmen class by fifteen percent, which demands there be easier access to and more available seating in libraries. The concern is over where students will be able to go to study and perform research tasks if an entire library is out of commission. The updated proposal targets the end of the renovation project to finish before the start of the fall term.