NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – Today we’re Cruisin’ Connecticut to the largest library for rare books. The Beinecke Library opened in 1963, and attracts more than 150,000 visitors a year.
With over 1 million volumes in the library, Director, E.C. Schroeder explains the establishment’s history:
Yes, we’ve been collecting at the library for over 300 years at this point. The Beinecke opened 50 years ago. In the stack tower that you see behind me there are approximately 80,000. It’s sealed from the area that we’re in now for both environmental controls. So keeping the temperature at 65 degrees and humidity levels. The oldest material we have is actually a part of papyrus from Egypt so it goes back to 3rd and 4th century BC. But we also have behind us over here is the Guttenberg Bible.
Margins on this book are three times at the bottom of what they are on the side and two on the top, and that ratio is itself reflected in the architecture in this building.
There are also mysterious myths about the library:
The Beinecke has all sorts of myths and so they’re all sorts of fun myths about one of the great ones is that in case of a nuclear attack the stack tower actually drops into the ground for protection. Or another alternative is that the roof opens and the stack tower takes off to a secret location and so it makes that sort of mystical story around it and it’s actually fun to say in public, fun to talk about.