The essence of a library is the bookstack, tier upon tier of self-supporting shelves with long slits of windows lighting narrow aisles. In the evolution of the modern library, it has become almost a matter of course to treat this structure as something to be subordinated in the exterior design. Not infrequently it becomes the rear facade, obscured behind a screen of monumental rooms. In the design of the Sterling Memorial Library, one of the first principles was the placing of the stack in the most accessible and important position on the site and its direct expression as the dominating feature of the facade. The great book tower is the first glimpse one gets of the library from any approach. It is so placed that it will be the terminating feature of the cross campus when Berkeley Oval is gone. This external expression of the functional core of the building gives the library a structural dignity and direct symbolism in the tradition of the great monuments of the past.
Yale University Library, "Yale University Library Gazette special issue on The Sterling Memorial Library, Volume V, Number 4 (April 1931)" (1931). Publications on Yale History. Paper 1.