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CCL memories

A small group of us were very vocal in opposing the construction of the CCL when it was being designed, primarily because of its effect on Berkeley. I’m sure distinguished architect Edward Larrabee Barnes found us very annoying. I had a very interesting meeting with Ed Barnes many years later when I was a prospective client interviewing his firm. We both clearly remembered our earlier confrontation and studiously ignored it.

Time proved us right, although for different reasons than we had anticipated—CCL was a cold, brutal, and unpleasant place from the first. I’m very pleased to see that the reconstruction has finally introduced some character, charm, and civility into this ungainly idea.


Yesterday’s mail brought me the latest edition of the Yale Alumni Magazine, with its centerfold-worthy story on the metamorphosis of Cross Campus, which I vividly recall as the “ugly duckling” of Yale’s (and, I hate to say it, most other colleges', universities’ and communities') libraries. As both an alumna and a librarian of many years’ standing, I found the “after” photos mouthwatering and the story heartwarming and uplifting. I wish all libraries were as beautiful, as inspiring and as inviting as Bass is, and I wish its staff and patrons many happy years working in and using it! I'll be in New England in May for my reunion at Smith, and I just might stop at Yale for a day on my way up from Philadelphia. (Just one question: are they hiring?!)


I read with sadness about the demise of CCL! Though it may not have been as beautiful as the new Bass Library, I have fond memories of the black, white, and chrome library. Often I’d find my little brother, Dennis, studying at one of those tables during his freshman year. He was TD '96, but he unfortunately never made it to that date as he tragically died in a car accident 2 weeks after his freshman year. CCL is also the place where I met my husband and the father of my children. Maybe they'll be in the classes of 2026 and 2028? How nice that they might get to enjoy that gorgeous new library, but I'll always be bummed that they'll never know the weenie bins and machine city!


Validating CCL’s reputation as more social scene than serious study space, I first set eyes on my future wife—Kimberly Davis '90 (MC)—at one of the tables one night during finals week. Down there more to be distracted than to actually accomplish anything, I was introduced to her by a mutual friend, and I proceeded to chat her up for over an hour, standing over the table choosing to ignore her blindingly obvious hints regarding her final the following morning. My only consolation after finally relenting—thoroughly humiliated—and leaving her to study was the realization that I was unlikely to ever have the mortifying experience of seeing her again.

Twenty years feels like the blink of an eye, until I recall that we were in the “smoking section” (half the library at the time was reserved for smoking, which was finally banned the following year), and that I spent the hour bumming cigarettes from her whenever I ran out of things to say. Hard to say which is more embarrassing: (1) that I am old enough to remember when it was acceptable to smoke in blue-state undergraduate libraries, or (2) that for all the evils of smoking (we quit together shortly thereafter), it is partially responsible for the principal happiness of my life. I dread the day our 11-year-old daughter thinks to ask “how I met your mother.”


Your article about the re-opened Cross Campus Library reminded me of my work as a student aide in 1972–73.

I was at the circulation desk when a somewhat rumpled older man stepped up to check out a book. When I asked him for his card, the librarian rushed up and threw me aside. After the man left, I received a lecture.

Apparently, Professor Robert Penn Warren didn't need a library card.






This is CCL?
Not anymore. Yale’s much-used but little-loved Cross Campus Library emerged from a 17-month renovation this fall with a new name and a completely new look.


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