Scene on Campus

Beinecke is back

After a year of renovations, the rare book and manuscript library looks . . . awfully familiar.

Michael Marsland

Michael Marsland

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The newly renovated Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library reopened to the public this fall. The verdict: it  looks the same, except with a little more gleam (and more classrooms, better equipped). Which is exactly what everyone wanted.

The renovation focused on restoring the iconic building and on upgrading crucial systems, explains Beinecke communications director Michael Morand ’87, ’93MDiv. Among the upgrades: security, IT, and climate control. (What about the legendary fire control system that—according to generations of inventive student tour guides—sucks the oxygen out of the building? Says Morand: “Like reports of Mark Twain’s death, myths about oxygen vacuuming have been greatly overstated.” The building is equipped to release a fire suppressant safe for humans, but only into the stacks and only once everyone is out.)

To celebrate the reopening of Gordon Bunshaft’s 53-year-old modernist masterpiece, the library staff has put on two new exhibitions: one memorializing writer and civil rights activist James Weldon Johnson, the other displaying recent acquisitions—from a Chipotle cup with prose by Malcolm Gladwell to rare vintage photos of Abraham Lincoln. Beinecke fans, welcome back.

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