New on View

Members may remember that, for years, Library display rested in a low glass case in the elevator lobby. The space was dark and the pieces in the case difficult to see without crouching down.   The committee and I wanted pieces that brought the artifacts up to the


The old display case.

members and allowed us more flexibility in our displays.


Buying a display case turned out to be more difficult than we’d expected. Most prefabricated products seemed to be too small or too tall or too modern for our needs. I knew that the idea of a new display case had been discussed by the committee on and off for nearly ten years before I arrived, and it quickly became clear why the project had been so long delayed.

Enter Dan Kershaw, exhibition designer. Mr. Kershaw, a friend of Art Sub-Committee Chair and Library Committee Member, Stephen K. Scher, visited the Club late last spring to evaluate the space and help us determine the most suitable cases for our display needs. Dan spent over an hour with us, discussing our needs and concerns for the space. His customized designs turned out to be exactly what we needed.

Dan’s designs all gave us plenty of display space, easy accessibility, and extra light for the formerly dark space.  We finally settled on a design that gave us the flexibility of two


Third Display option; our final design added 3″ to the overall height.

smaller cases to replace the single case – which allowed us to incorporate the reference desk into our design and will allow us to mount two separate, smaller exhibitions at the same time, if we ever choose to do so.


We worked with Gaylord Archival to have Dan’s design fabricated and the cases arrived just after the Thanksgiving Holiday.

So, the Library Elevator Lobby is now spruced up and ready for the Winter Holiday season – and for all the exciting exhibitions to come.


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The Case for Weeding

The Library Staff and Committee welcome Library Intern, John Chagaris, as guest blogger.

When libraries weed or remove resources from their collection, they can often be met with backlash from the community they serve. In 2015 Jeff Scott, the library director in Berkeley California, was forced to step down after the community challenged his choice to “purge” (as they put it) over 50,000 books. Scott tried to make an appeal to the community, stating that the weeding allowed for the collection to grow by 18,000 books in the end, but his appeals for sanity fell on deaf ears.

Libraries are often seen, especially today, as endless repositories of information. While part of that statement is true, “endless” is the operative word here. Storage space, be it physical or digital is at a premium and can easily go beyond the often a libraries modest budget. How then, is a library’s collection able to grow when storage space is so limited?

In order to prevent building addition after addition onto an existing library to house the ever expanding written word, a library has alternatives. A library could purchase offsite storage to house works that aren’t often requested, but that brings additional managerial responsibilities and the burden of purchasing and maintaining an extra facility. Safeguards against fire, flood and theft need to be put in place, not to mention a climate control mechanism for books at various levels of deterioration. Another alternative is the library staff can weed the existing collection to make room for new material.

That’s where I come in. My name is John Chagaris and I’m a second year Masters student at Pratt’s School of Information. For the past few months, I have been working on weeding the biography section with the help of our Librarian, Christina. Our biography section suffers from physical condition issues, redundancy issues, classification errors, and, of course, space issues. Many of these issues could have been minimized if a regular, recurring weeding plan was in place, but unfortunately there hasn’t been one until recently.

Weeding is a crucial component of any library’s mission to maintain a well-curated and current collection. Weeding is the process of making educated decisions about which books should be kept on the shelf and which should be taken off the shelf and discarded. Weeding can either be aggressive or more conservative based on established criteria of the library staff.

While it may sound like weeding opposes the development of a collection by taking books out of that collection, we have to remember that physical shelf space is at a premium while books continue to publish at a steady rate. Because of this, space needs to be made periodically to allow the collection to develop and grow.

The process also allows our librarians to perform quality control on their collection by making sure books are labeled correctly (with author and barcode number, for example), are classified in the correct section. It also gives librarians the opportunity to weed out duplicate copies of a book. For example, a book of correspondence or book of diary entries could be incorrectly as a biography because it’s usually a book about a specific person or a relationship between two people. But a biography it is not; a biography should be a detailed description of a person’s life. The books of correspondence and diary entries are snapshots of a person’s life and are used to research a biography, but they are not biographical alone. On this note, in our library we had all of James Boswell’s personal diaries (eight volumes) classified as biographies in the biography section. These books don’t need to be discarded, but they certainly make room in the biography section when they are moved to Scottish authors in the 800 section.

Weeding also allows for reevaluation of a book’s currency and accuracy. For example, our biography had a book called the The Spy Went Dancing by Aline Griffith, Dowager Countess of Romanones. The book was part of a series and recounted the authors work in espionage and foreign intelligence, and is presented as fact. After the book’s publication historian Rupert Allason found that although there is no doubt that Griffith worked for the CIA during World War Two many of the fact presented in her book was fabricated. In fact, she was a low level cypher clerk, not a high level clearance holding mole catcher. While books like this could be amusing or considered an artifact of the time it was produced, the library is not a place for outdated or misleading materials.

In order to keep a library’s collection vibrant and current, weeding, just like acquisition, is crucial. Without weeding, new acquisitions wouldn’t be as visible to patrons as the older, outdated books flooding the shelves. Without weeding, a library’s staff is doomed to repeat the same mistakes in acquisitions and even book classification again and again.

As we can see, weeding not only keeps the collection vibrant and current, it also gives great insight to the librarian on the needs of the patron base as a whole.

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Looking for ebooks? Find them at the Yale Club Library

The Library Committee, Debbie, and I are excited to announce our newest service at the Yale Club Library: ebooks from OneClickdigital. We’ve been offering digital magazines through RBDigital’s Zinio since April 2016. The service has proven extremely popular – digital magazines circulate twice as much as books each month. The most exciting part of that service, for us, has been that many of the members who have signed up for the Zinio service are out-of-town members. That means that we’ve finally been able to serve members regularly who may only make it in to the Club once or twice a year.

RB Digital’s ebook platform, OneClickdigital offered us the opportunity to finally offer the ebooks our members ask for, within the limits of our small library budget. I’m definitely not trying to sell the product, but the flexibility of pricing on this platform, and its clean look and functionality made the transition into ebooks very easy for us (so far, at least). The Yale Club Library is too small to be everything to everyone, but we hope that with the addition of ebooks, we can continue increasing our outreach to members, so that we can make our services as relevant to as many of them as possible.

Members Create a OneClickdigtal account using your full member number as it appears on your card? Do you have suggestions for future ebook purchases? The Library will buy ebooks based on popular request each month; make a suggestion to the Library Staff today:

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Celebrating 150 Years of the Peabody Museum

Yale University is home to some of the most impressive campus museums in the world. Its


Ribbon with George Peabody’s face.

earliest museum, The Peabody Museum of Natural History, is an example of why they are so exciting. Since its founding in 1866, the Peabody has become one of the main attractions for visitors to both Yale and New Haven – from its inception, the Museum was far more than a simple campus repository for oddities or study aids. Its 13 million specimens, a selection of which are on display in the Library through December 2016, represent ten areas of study and are the fruit of thousands of hours of exploration:



  • Anthropology
  • Botany
  • Entomology
  • Historical Scientific Instruments
  • Invertebrate Paleontology
  • Invertebrate Zoology
  • Mineralogy and Meteoritics
  • Paleobotany
  • Vertebrate Paleontology
  • Vertebrate Zoology

Moreover, the Peabody’s Mission reaches far beyond the gates of the University:

“The mission of the Peabody Museum is to serve Yale University by advancing our understanding of earth’s history through geological, biological, and anthropological research, and by communicating the results of this research to the widest possible audience through publication, exhibition, and educational programs. Fundamental to this mission is stewardship of the Museum’s rich collections, which provide a remarkable record of the history of the earth, its life, and its cultures. Conservation, augmentation


Fiji Coral and illustration by Alfred Agate, brought back by U.S Exploring Expedition.  This is one of the thousands of specimens from this expedition.

and use of these collections become increasingly urgent as modern threats to the diversity of life and culture continue to intensify.”


We hope the collection will whet members’ appetites to learn more about the museum, its history, and its mission of education and conservation. To tide them over until they can make a trip up to New Haven, the staff has pulled a small collection of books from our shelves related to the museum and its collections. Check one out today.

This exhibition was curated by Andrea DaRif, with assistance from Ellen Iseman, Stephen Scher, Andrea Dorfman, and Christina Kasman. Generous assistance was also provided by Richard Kissel, Thomas Near, and Rosemary Volpe of the Peabody Museum.

Photography by Robert Lorenz.

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Library Tour: The Music Room

Formally, at least according to the carved wooden sign mounted above the doorway, the room across from the Library Office is “The Carnegie Music and Fine Arts Room.”  To members and staff, it’s simply: The Music Room. It is the next stop on our tour of the Library.


From Henry S.F. Cooper’s “Tour of the Yale Club Library”

The door on the left of the short corridor leads to the Carnegie Music and Fine Arts Room, which contains not only books on music and the fine arts but also literature and a small collection of children’s books for children of guests staying overnight at the Club. Andrew Carnegie did not go to Yale, but he had a special interest in libraries; his foundation provided funds for the Music Room in 1935. Until the early 1970s, it contained a phonograph (later a stereo), a large record collection, and a grand piano. Today, three work tables fill the center of the room, near where the piano used to be. At each, two people can sit face to face, their faces separated by a sort of bundling board in the middle of each table. These tables are one of the two places in the Library where laptop computers are allowed.

At the far end of the room is the Library’s financial and legal section. Nearby at Standard & Poor’s Corporation Records, as well as Martindale-Hubbell Law Directories. Outlook and Value Line, two other financial references, are across the hall in the Back Issues and Reference Room.

The latest copies of many magazines are in an alcove on the north wall.



The Music Room: As seen from the Library Office


Although it no longer has a grand piano or phonograph, the Music Room still has an electronic keyboard, which is occasionally used for Yale singing group reunion rehearsals and more often by members (who use headphones) practicing. The water cooler is tucked in the back, right by a large desk that many members consider to be the best workspace in the Club. New Books are also located in the Music Room in the current periodicals alcove. Members will find Oversize books, including the Oxford English Dictionary, located in the low glass cabinets at the back of the room. When the Main Reading Room is in use for an event, the Music Room is where members retreat for the quietest work space. Regular users of the Library know that the Music Room is also the “warm room” – we don’t turn on the air-conditioning in that space over the summer, which makes it a more welcoming space than the Main Reading Room for some.

Recently, the Music Room has also been the home to the Library’s “Happy Hour for the Mind,” series, where featured speakers and members gather for intimate conversations over snacks and cocktails. Our next featured speaker in that series, joining us on October 10, will be Professor Tom Near, head of Saybrook College, Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology; Associate Curator of Vertebrate Zoology (Ichthyology) Peabody Museum. Members can sign up to discuss, “The Snail Darter: A fresh look at a biological conservation icon,” on the Club’s online calendar.

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Missing Book of the Month: Jane Eyre, found at the Morgan

I confess that the title of this post is a misdirection, of course. No book from the Yale Club Library has turned up at the Morgan Library & Museum, floating among their non-circulating collections. What is true is that the copy of Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre, a 2004


Our missing Jane Eyre.

Barnes & Noble paperback copy, which we supposedly have in our collection, is missing from the shelves. I checked on Monday.


I checked because like all women who at some point in their lives believed that Brontë’s Mr. Rochester would make a good romantic match, and who also happen to live in or near New York right now, my heart fluttered when I discovered that the original manuscript of Jane Eyre would be shown in the United States, for the first time ,at the Morgan Library & Museum. The Morgan happens to be just a few blocks from the Yale Club – so until January 2, 2017, when the exhibition closes, I will be within just a few blocks of the book. The eighth-grade girl in me swooned.

In honor of the exhibition, I’m replacing our tattered 1950s copies of the Brontë sisters’ novels with new ones, less likely to fall apart once they are taken off the library shelves and go out into the world – stronger and more like the heroines in them (schmaltzy; I couldn’t resist!). New copies of Charlotte’s Shirley, Villette, The Professor, and Jane Eyre, and Anne’s Agnes Grey and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall are on their way. A newish copy of Emily’s Wuthering Heights is still safely on the shelves, as is a rather unwieldy paperback containing Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, and Agnes Grey in one volume. We also have a nicely rebound copy of The Life of Charlotte Brontë by Charlotte’s friend, the novelist Elizabeth Gaskell – a good alternative for those of you who have already worn through all your copies of Charlotte’s novels.

The new copies should be here, ready to be checked out, next week. So members, come on in, check one out, have lunch in the Club, and then stroll over to the Morgan where you can see the original Jane.  Enjoy. I know I will.

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Library Tour: The Corridors and the Thornton Wilder Room


From Henry S.F. Cooper’s Tour of the Yale Club Library

To the right of the Americana Room is a short corridor running westward and lined with fiction. Mysteries are on the left. Regular (or unmysterious) fiction is on the right, continuing into one of the three rooms opening off the corridor, the Thornton Wilder Conference Room. This room has a round table in the center with several chairs.


Bird’s Eye Map of Library in 1990s.



The Long Corridor now contains Biographies on the Left and Mysteries and Large Print fiction on the right.  General Fiction (alphabetized by author) starts in the Short Corridor outside the Thornton Wilder room and continues in that space.  Fiction surrounds the  many members who make use four computers now in the Thornton Wilder Room.  This is no longer a conference room — though the lovely brass sign above the door still suggests otherwise.  A printer for member, and a take one/leave one shelf of paperbacks are also located in the corner of this room. Ironically, alphabetization by author means that all of the Thornton Wilder novels in the collection are located in the short corridor, rather than in the author’s namesake


Thornton Wilder’s Yale Class Book Photo. 1920.

room. In case you happen to be wondering why we have a Thornton Wilder Room: Thornton Wilder, author of Our Town (1938)and The Bridge of San Luis Ray (1927), was graduated with Yale’s Class of 1920.





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