America's Most Beautiful College Libraries
Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Yale University, New Haven, CT
Panes of 1.25-inch-thick marble give the 1960s-era Beinecke a distinctive look. White and gray from the outside, the marble glows a warm amber-like hue on the interior, allowing filtered light to enter the space without damaging the rare contents, which range from ancient papyri to works by great 20th-century writers. A giant six-story tower of books is encased in glass and surrounded by a mezzanine level that draws visitors to free rotating exhibitions, lectures by preeminent thinkers, and musical performances. The Gutenberg Bible, the first Western book printed from movable type, and Audubon’s Birds of America are on permanent exhibition.