Sterling Memorial Library: A Library from Another Age

I just got back from my college reunion. Besides catching up with old friends, I loved walking around campus and seeing how things had changed or noticing things that I had not before. One of the places I loved revisiting was the Sterling Memorial Library, Yale's main library. It is built in a Gothic revival style, with its main lobby designed like a cathedral, complete with a nave, transepts, stained glass windows, and an altar-like check-out desk:
view of nave from main entrance

stained glass window

check out desk
view from right transept

ceiling detail

an inside courtyard
When I was an undergraduate, I may have glanced at these details, but only in passing on my way to the stacks. I also didn't spend much time studying in the main library, preferring the other smaller libraries around campus. This visit, my college roommate showed me some great little gargoyles holding up the pillars in the transepts. For example, a student at a bar:
or another one holding a book with an early text-message:
In this era of electronic books and decreased resources, we won't see an altar to books like this anymore. We certainly won't see this sight:
The library still has rooms of these beautiful, old card catalogues, but when you open the drawers, they are all empty.

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