Saturday, April 15, 2006

Yale Library Gets Surprisingly Low Marks

In a recent review by the Coalition of American Libraries, the libraries of Yale University were given a surprising thumbs down, as COAL derided the collection as "underwhelming" and "deficient in scholarly works in some important areas of modern research." The review came as more than a mild shock to the departmental heads at Yale's libraries, considering that the overall university collection ranks as the fourth largest in the United States (after only the Library of Congress, Harvard, and the Boston Public Library) and for decades has been acclaimed as one of the top scholarly research institutions in the world. So what led to the poor scores?

"Roller coasters," said COAL's Vice President of Academic Library Review P. Piers Woodhouse IV. "Or, should I say, the near complete lack thereof."

Woodhouse derided Yale for maintaining a roller coaster literature collection that consists of a mere two books, Robert Cartmell's Incredible Scream Machine and Todd Throgmorton's Roller Coasters. "The Cartmell book is a classic, and they do get some positive points for at least having that one," he said. "But to have such a woefully inadequate set of texts on coasters, and not a single Discovery Channel special or Robb Alvey onboard video in their media holdings, is truly pathetic."

"It amazes me how this university has squandered its ample library funds," Woodhouse added. "They have this utterly huge main library, Sterling Memorial, with fifteen floors of books, and entire massive branches devoted to the Divinity School, music, arts and architecture, science, and many other disciplines. There should be a completely separate branch to house a massive and world-renowned coaster-related collection, and they don't even devote a single shelf to one. Bah!"

Woodhouse also complained about the Beinecke Rare Book Library at Yale, a translucent marble facility that houses valuable and fragile books, in particular two original Gutenberg bibles. "This just shows how little interest Yale is taking in a field as important and relevant as roller coaster research," he said. "To think that a special display would be made for anything created by the insipid star of Police Academy and Can't Stop the Music, while the works of David Bennett and Mark Wyatt lay ignored, is a travesty."

He also pointed out that although Yale is in "excellent shape" in "relatively obscure and unimportant areas" of its holdings, such as British literature, math, history, and political systems, it was unfortunately also "criminally deficient" in a number of other disciplines, including Star Trek novels, classic Dungeons & Dragons dungeon master guidebooks, Steven Seagal movies, and hardcore Japanese stroke mags.

COAL stated in its official criticism of Yale that the university would be given six months to substantially improve its insufficient collections or risk losing accreditation from the Coalition.