Yale Set to Reopen Its Renovated Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library

The Beinecke Library holds one of the world’s largest collections of rare books and manuscripts. PHOTO: JESSICA HILL FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
July 21, 2016

NEW HAVEN, Conn.—When Yale University’s Beinecke library opened in 1963, curators smoked at their desks and a small fire once erupted when the inaugural director flicked a lighted cigarette into his wastebasket.

Now, as part of a massive renovation under way at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, there’s a state-of-the-art fire suppression system, as well as an array of computerized cameras and monitors to rival a casino’s. New systems keep temperature and humidity levels steady in the Modernist building. They also are quieter than the originals, which roared “like an airplane taking off,” says Edwin C. Schroeder, who has led the Beinecke since January 2011.

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