Yale University's Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library (BRBL) was a 1963 gift of the Beinecke family. The building, designed by architect Gordon Bunshaft, of the firm of Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill, is the largest building in the world reserved exclusively for the preservation of rare books and manuscripts. It is located at the center of the University, in Hewitt Quadrangle, which is more commonly referred to as "Beinecke Plaza". A six-story above-ground tower of book stacks is surrounded by a windowless rectangular building with walls made of a translucent Danby marble, which transmit subdued lighting and provide protection from direct light. Three floors of stacks extend under Hewitt Quadrangle. The sculptures in the sunken courtyard are by Isamu Noguchi and are said to represent time (the pyramid), sun (the circle), and chance (the cube). The library also contains an exhibition hall that, among other things, displays one of the 48 extant copies of the Gutenberg Bible, study areas, reading rooms, the catalogue room, microfilm room, offices, and the book storage areas. The two books of the Gutenberg Bible are left open in a display case, and the librarians at Beinecke are said to turn one page of each book daily.
The display of the original core of the British Library, the original gift of King George III, as found in the new British Library building at Euston in London, is designed as a silent tribute to the elegance of the Beinecke.
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