NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — The Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Yale University holds some of the world’s greatest literary treasures and much, much more.
“It’s more than just rare books and manuscripts, it’s also photographs and maps.
“Today, we also collect digital data, so people’s emails, also collecting archives, posters, anything that documents the history of human knowledge and experience,” said E.C. Schroeder, director of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University.
After a major renovation, it’s now open again.
Treasures of time, like the Gutenberg bible, the first book ever printed by movable type.
“It’s the beginning of a revolution of what’s possible in terms of how knowledge can be disseminated,” said Nancy Kuhl, Curator of the Yale collection of America literature for Poetry at the Beinecke library.
Advancing and disseminating knowledge may be what Sir Isaac Newton had in mind when he donated his math and physics books to the Beinecke library.
“You can see this traveled all the way across the ocean, it sat on the shelf, it survived on the shelf and it is sitting here so you and I have the opportunity to look at it,” said Schroeder.
That’s just the start, the Beinecke’s unique design allows translucent marble panels to safely filter light into a tower of books dating back to the 15th century.
“The structure of the building actually makes it so we can see the collection this way with this natural light without risk of doing any damage to the book,” said Kuhl.
Recent technology upgrades go even further to safeguard the priceless books and artifacts.
Stable temperatures to offset humidity, water-less fire suppression systems and a wide range of security systems are all part of the multi-million dollar upgrades.
Those who work inside cherish the space just as much as those who stroll through in awe.
“It’s an extraordinary job, it’s a really wonderful place to be,” said Kuhl.
New discoveries being made by looking back.
Scholars are able to access and read through the mountain of materials, understanding them in new ways.
“The library is a space where we both collect and store and preserve knowledge, but it’s also a very live and dynamic space where new knowledge is coming to our culture in all different kinds of ways,” said Kuhl.
A staff vigilant to make sure the Beinecke library evolves right alongside humankind.
“One of the questions in two hundred years is what will a book look is like? What’s a title page, what’s an index? We will have that for someone to discover,” said Schroeder.