Libraries: Both Luxury and Necessity


“A colleague once told me a story of a house full of books. The house belonged to an intellectual historian who had accumulated a library with tens of thousands of volumes. When he decided to move, a friend of his who was a civil engineer urged care. The house contained so many books, the friend said, that it had sunk and settled around them, becoming dependent on them for structural support. Unless the books were removed in a slow spiral from the top down, the engineer warned, the house risked collapse. After my colleague finished this story, she noticed my wide eyes. She asked if I related to the historian. “No,” I said. “I relate to the house.” There are books around which our lives sink and settle—the dog-eared, bath-warped books that line the shelves of home and memory.… I found books that found their way inside me. “

- Kenji Yoshino, “Covering”

Sterling Library

Libraries are magical places that hold the sacred musings of the minds that came before us, a sacrosanct intermingling of both fact and myth. Books encapsulate the pain, wisdom, and advice from wiser generations, and their ideas are solemn gifts, diamonds bequeathed to us from the furnace of pain, beauty, error, and triumph. What are we as a society if not the product of narratives, our own and others? G.K. Chesterton’s words ring true when he states, “Fairy tales do not tell children the dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children the dragons can be killed.”

With this being said, it cannot be stressed enough the invaluable, innumerable, and immeasurable amount of resources you will have at Yale University Library System. 

Divinity Library doors

The Divinity Library “supports teaching and research in disciplines related to Christianity with particular strength in Bible, theology, and the history of Christianity.  The Day Missions Collection is the strongest collection of its kind anywhere in the world.  The Ministry Resource Center houses material supporting the practice of ministry.” 

You are able to:

Search and request books from Borrow Direct

Check status of a book request in your Orbis account

Request scans of Yale material from Orbis records (Scan and Deliver)

Order scans of articles, books, and other circulating materials from Interlibrary Loan

The Yale University Library is a fantastic resource, but its size and complexity can overwhelm new students. “Your Personal Librarian is here to help you get the most out of your experience with the Library during your time at Yale.”

Every Yale student is assigned a librarian who will

  • send you email updates about the library
  • answer your library questions
  • assist you in locating library resources
  • help you when you are not sure where to start with research

Your personal librarians at YDS:

Stephen Crocco (203) 432-5292


Room L103

Carolyn Hardin Engelhardt (203) 432-5319

Director, Ministry Resource Center

Room L115

Suzanne Estelle-Holmer (203) 432-6374

Associate Director for Research, Collections and Access and Interim Director


Graziano Krätli (203) 436-8202

Digital Projects and Technology Librarian

Room L102

Christine Pesch Richardson (203) 432-5295

Serials & Preservation Librarian

Room L102

Also located in the Divinity Library is The Ministry Resource Center, which brings together the “study of theology and the practice of ministry. The center serves congregations and agencies, their leaders, and the faculty and students of Yale Divinity School.”

The staff of the Ministry Resource Center helps individuals develop and implement ministries. 
Some of the many resources they provide are:
  • Consultation regarding ideas and issues in ministry
  • Guidance through resources for ministry programs, community outreach, and pastoral and congregational care issues
  • Workshops led by professionals in program ministries to meet you or your congregation’s particular needs
  • Assistance for audiovisual resources for all ages and occasions

“The Ministry Resource Center offers a wide array of materials, most of which may be accessed through Orbis, the Yale University Library online catalog. The Ministry Resource Subject List is updated regularly and contains both shelf locations or links to Orbis, the Yale Library online catalog.”

For more information please visit their website:

As a YDS student, however, you have access to the entirety of Yale’s library system, not just the Divinity Library. 

We hope that you take this precious opportunity to fully explore the rich resources that are available to you through Yale’s University Library system. And may the many books you read and discover settle in your own souls, enriching you and your experience here at YDS. 
*Information taken from Yale University Library webpage 
*Photos taken by Mia Tabib’s iphone