Beinecke Rare Book Library, Yale University

Last fall, Dennis and I felt like getting out of the city for the day, so we took the train up to New Haven. The goal was to have a relaxing day and to eat at the oldest burger joint in the country, Louis Lunch. (In addition, he really wanted to go to the preppy mecca, J. Press)

We did all of that, and then I remembered that the Beinecke Library was on Yale's campus. I wanted to check it out, because I'm familiar with their incredible online archive. Fortunately we got there about 20 minutes before they closed.

I was in for a pleasant surprise (actually, an understatement) when we got there and discovered the cool building that the collection was housed in. I wasn't familiar with this building before we went.

Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill designed the library in 1963 with the sensitive nature of the collection in mind. They created a windowless structure out of thin marble, of which natural light shines through. The marble, plus the dim light gives interior a really dramatic impression.

Above is a photo of the building, and below is a detail of the exterior.

This is the interior of the library. It's really jaw-dropping. Not what you would expect to see coming in from outside.

The 5-story center core of the building houses the books and manuscripts behind glass. Of course, you may not browse the stacks! You have to put in a request for the materials that you want to view. There are a few items on view behind cases around the periphery of the library.

This is one of the coolest buildings I've been to; definitely worth the visit if you ever find yourself on Yale's campus.

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