Talk:Harold B. Lee Library

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Good article Harold B. Lee Library has been listed as one of the Social sciences and society good articles under the good article criteria. If you can improve it further, please do so. If it no longer meets these criteria, you can reassess it.
June 1, 2008 Good article nominee Listed


For a discussion on comparative sizes, see Talk:Library 23:59, 10 March 2007 (UTC)—Preceding unsigned comment added by DGG (talkcontribs)

There is no such discussion there. The Jade Knight 00:49, 11 March 2007 (UTC)
try it again: Talk:Library, item 18, at the bottom. It works for me DGG 08:35, 11 March 2007 (UTC)

Revisions regarding size[edit]

The size of Harvard's entire library system is irrelevant to both the claims in question (and what is being stated in this article) and to the Harold B. Lee Library in general. Regardless of how big Harvard's library system may or may not be, it is irrelevant unless this article is comparing itself to Harvard Library's system—the Lee Library is not a library system, and I am unaware of any point in the article where it compares itself to other library systems.

In addition, the "reference" DGG created simply moved relevant text from the body of the article to a footnote. It is not, in fact, a reference, and does not belong under references. The reason the comparisons are given is to help provide a sense of context for the claim being made. I feel that they improve the article, though if a reliable source can be found stating that the Lee Library is the largest in North America, that may be adequate in and of itself. The Jade Knight 01:02, 11 March 2007 (UTC)

Here I am thinking I know about academic libraries, and I am admitting that you caught an unequivocal error in the main Library article and I was trying to change the article to show that you are right. In the process, I have learned about the Lee library, and I hadnt known it before. So I'd think you'd feel good about it.
There are many meaning of "library", and "library building" is just one of them. The list in the Library article is not specifically about buildings per se--the "Library of Congress" is 3 buildings, connected. At the moment is is defined to exclude library systems, which is why Harvard University lIbrary is not there--nor is Yale or Princeton.
BYU probably is the largest single-building university library, in terms of square feet or miles of shelf space, It might be the biggest single-building university library in terms of collection size. The problem is figuring out what university libraries are single-building libraries. I thik the major ones would have to be checked one at a time. (BYU has a separate law library but that's a detail)
Then there's another consideration: the largest library building. (which might be elsewhere in a large system. I can think of some contenders, but I do not know of a list. And then there is the question of whether to measure by square feet, or shelf space, or collections size. As you say, neither you or I know of any larger. If you can find some comparisons, please put in a table of square feet or shelf space or both in the Academic library article, which needs some more content. I have the collection size numbers from ARL, and I will put them in. And, I will add some of the ARL statistics to Harvard and BYU , but there are too many to do all of the other places at once.

The ARL numbers are expressed in terms of volumes. There are also linear feet of archives, no. of microforms, etc) ARL does not attempt to sum these up into items, so there are no official figures for that. (the definitions of each are a little hazy too.). The definition of what counts as a university system is also a question: Rutgers groups their three campuses into one system for reporting; California does them separately)

I think the wording I used was exact, but I'll remove a comparison you don't seem to like just for peace' sake. But to keep all of us happy , I will remove them all from here. What Harvard may claim is not relevant to BYU, just as you said above, since Harvard does not claim to have the largest single-building library. I don;t think it appropriate to put in a comparison with what Harvard claims, since what BYU is, and what Harvard claims, are not the same measure. I can think of neutral wordings without using the POV word "claims" if necesary. In any case, the way you have it, "probably the largest single-building library" is exact, and reasonably sure at least about shelf space. The biggest single library building--maybe, I simply dont know.
But please check your wording again: BYU does not have a 8 million volume collection, it has, according to ARL, a 3.6 million volume collection. Nor is it 8 million items in circulation--they dont all circulate, and I doubt if more than half a million are out at any one time. It has them in the collection. I'll leave you to adjust it here. I'll double-check Harvard.
No reason to dispute about this sort of thing--we just find the numbers and say what they measure. Libraries typically show off the figure that makes them look best. My university liked to cite volumes per student, since it had a relatively small enrollment. If we want to dispute, we can dispute about who gives the best service. I'll tell you one prejudice of mine: it isn't Harvard. I don't know all the university libraries, but I know enough about Harvard to say at least that. But I'd be hard put to document it in numbers.

So anyway, have a good week-end. I'm very glad to have another academic librarian joining in. DGG 08:35, 11 March 2007 (UTC)


If anyone has or can take pictures inside the library, I think that could add a lot of value to the article--maybe even add a gallery. Thanks. --Eustress (talk) 15:01, 15 April 2008 (UTC)

I went on a picture-taking field trip...hope it helps! --Eustress (talk) 19:40, 16 May 2008 (UTC)


Is the motto the library moto or the general university motto? DGG (talk) 18:44, 16 May 2008 (UTC)

Just the library's motto. --Eustress (talk) 19:32, 16 May 2008 (UTC)
Evidence, besides that they use it on their home page? I'd like to see a formal statement somewhere. That the word occur in the D&C is interesting as a source, but not quite the same thing. DGG (talk) 14:26, 18 May 2008 (UTC)
The D&C reference is just to illustrate where the motto comes from; it can be removed if you prefer, but I found the information helpful. Guides discuss the motto during library tours, but I don't have any referential evidence other than the homepage. --Eustress (talk) 14:17, 19 May 2008 (UTC)

GA Review[edit]

This review is transcluded from Talk:Harold B. Lee Library/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.

  • It looks odd in the references section to have external links pointing to the magazine's homepage. I'd just have them without the link; the URL provided to the page being cited should suffice.
  • Done. I removed the external link to the HBLL, as it is already included in the infobox. I think the link to Special Collections is still useful, though. Thanks. --Eustress (talk) 15:07, 31 May 2008 (UTC)
  • fixed. Wrad (talk) 02:48, 31 May 2008 (UTC)
  • "However, the Lewis building (where Maeser's office was located) burned down in 1884, the fire also destroyed the library collection." - the however is awkward her, and an "and" would make it read better after the comma I think.
  • Fixed. Wrad (talk) 02:48, 31 May 2008 (UTC)
  • The history section has a few unsourced paragraphs.
  • "By 1950, the collection had long since" - sounds awkward, some redundancy...
  • I don't really understand the problem with this... Wrad (talk) 02:48, 31 May 2008 (UTC)

Please leave a note on my talk page when you're done with these comments. Cheers, dihydrogen monoxide (H2O) 01:11, 31 May 2008 (UTC)

All looks good, so passed. dihydrogen monoxide (H2O) 04:11, 1 June 2008 (UTC)

List addition[edit]

I recently undid an addition of a list of stuff in the library, which looked more like a catalog (see WP:NOT) and would likely cause the article to lose its GA status. I also removed Image:LTPSC entrance.jpg, which is low quality (see WP:FP) and tangentially related to the article; plus, the article already has a superior picture of Special Collections (inside view). --Eustress (talk) 20:48, 25 November 2008 (UTC)

BYU wiki page conflict[edit]

This is my first Wiki edit/revision/w.e so I'll make it brief: In the first paragraph on this page, it is stated that BYU is the "second-largest private university in the United States", yet on the BYU main page it is stated that the university is the "third-largest private university in the U.S". That's all I got, just noticed it and thought I'd bring it up. I can't stand inconsistencies!! --mike — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:22, 30 January 2014 (UTC)

Princeton Review link[edit]

The Princeton Review link from 2007 is dead, and I couldn't find an archived version on The current Princeton Review site requires registration. I have found two secondary sources--the BYU Universe reports that the library was ranked #3 in 2012 and the BYU library site itself reports the 2007 ranking (also #3). Would either be an acceptable substitute? Rwelean (talk) 21:10, 7 January 2016 (UTC)

I replaced the Princeton review links, as well as some other dead links. The page now has fewer links to non-BYU sites, but they are working links at least. Rwelean (talk) 20:39, 15 January 2016 (UTC)

Too much information on holdings?[edit]

I know in the past the HBLL page has been bogged down with too much information about its holdings. I added the foreign language collection information because I have the BYU library centennial history on loan right now and I'm not sure how easy it will be to get this information in the future--in the future I or another editor might deem the added information not all that useful though. What are your thoughts? Rwelean (talk) 17:44, 22 February 2016 (UTC)


My supervisor said that the library could release the material on the BYU library history section--would a release from any Harold B. Lee library employee be sufficient? There are a fair amount of newspaper articles on the library's developments throughout the years, so it might be simpler for me to rewrite it.Rachel Helps (BYU) (talk) 21:02, 7 June 2017 (UTC)

If the school wants to grant permission there is a process it needs to follow at WP:DONATETEXT. What you write here is not sufficient. Jytdog (talk) 04:07, 8 June 2017 (UTC)
Yes, thank you, I wasn't sure if there were special rules for texts owned by companies rather than individuals. I sent a release e-mail.Rachel Helps (BYU) (talk) 15:52, 8 June 2017 (UTC)
I moved the OTRS text up. Please be aware that the content currently being challenged may fail policy in other ways besides COPYVIO. Everything in Wikipedia needs to be based on and given WEIGHT as reliable sources, ideally independent, sources do. Wikipedia cannot just be a proxy for the library's own website. Jytdog (talk) 17:02, 8 June 2017 (UTC)
Yes, I don't think that a page that replicates the information on the library's history page is ideal. I started a new page in my sandbox, copying material that I personally added to the page in the past as well as the infobox. It's a bit disjointed, and there's no lead section, so I'll be working on it next week too.Rachel Helps (BYU) (talk) 21:39, 8 June 2017 (UTC)
OTRS didn't believe I had authorization to release the page, so I wrote a new page on the place for a temporary draft (Talk:Harold B. Lee Library/Temp). Please let me know if there are issues with it. To err on the side of caution, I avoided citing the library website's history entirely.Rachel Helps (BYU) (talk) 20:20, 12 June 2017 (UTC)


This article was produced entirely by employees of the library, and as with many unreviewed products of conflicted editing it needs to be reviewed for reliable sourcing, neutral language, and probably most importantly to insure that WEIGHT is appropriate based on what independent, reliable sources say about the subject. After editors not associated with the subject review this, the tag can be removed by them. If you do the review, please note that here. thx Jytdog (talk) 01:28, 16 June 2017 (UTC)

@Jytdog: No, it was not. Certainly a number of them have contributed, but it is absolutely not entirely by them. Stating so is a complete falsehood inaccurate at best. Also, I have nothing to do with the library (though I have been there a few times). ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe · Join WP Japan! 02:16, 16 June 2017 (UTC)
Also, I reviewed the article and found it to be neutral. Please stop re-adding the COI template. ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe · Join WP Japan! 02:40, 16 June 2017 (UTC)
User:Nihonjoe please see this remark above and reconsider your statement about the actual history. Jytdog (talk) 03:22, 16 June 2017 (UTC)
@Jytdog: You're being anal about this. I've given the article the once over to remove any not-really-egregious-but-enough-to-get-you-all-worked-up items. It's just fine now. Deal with it. ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe · Join WP Japan! 05:17, 16 June 2017 (UTC)
I am surprised you are an admin. You have blatantly misrepresented the history, called what I said a "complete falsehood", and refused to deal with it. Whatever, I will ignore you going forward. Deal with it. Jytdog (talk) 05:21, 16 June 2017 (UTC)
@Jytdog: No, go look at the history. Only the current version was (now not) mostly written by an employee of BYU. An employee, I might add, who has shown to have a very good handle on how Wikipedia works, and does her best to make sure articles are written within policies and guidelines. She's worked to improve many different articles to GA status, worked to improve stubs to Start or better, submitted (and had approved) several DYK articles, and so on. She has not had any significant issues at all. Yet here you are, treating her as if she's trying to sneak one past the whole of the enwiki community. Your issues were addressed, and yet all you do is whine about it and say there are still horrible issues. As far as articles go, this one is quite good (literally, it's GA-class). I suspect it will only get better.
On top of all that, I've gone through every single line in the article and fixed any possible issues I noticed. All of them were really minor. Some rewording, removal of a few trivial items better suited for the official website of the library, and fixing a few reference issues. As it stands, this article is better than just passable. It's (again) good. ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe · Join WP Japan! 05:54, 16 June 2017 (UTC)
Your remarks above are inappropriate for an article talk page. Please see your talk page. Jytdog (talk) 16:18, 19 June 2017 (UTC)
They are not in the least bit inappropriate. Get off your attack horse and start commenting on this article (which I see you are doing below...thank you), not on me. Disagreeing with me is not the same as me being wrong. If you don't have anything useful to contribute to improving this article, go find another corner of Wikipedia in which to play. ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe · Join WP Japan! 06:58, 20 June 2017 (UTC)
The histories have been merged, and all possibly-copyvio edits have been revdeleted. ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe · Join WP Japan! 21:20, 16 June 2017 (UTC)


There is nothing... difficult in this article. This is what one expects when it is written by an employee of the subject and one of the most important aspects of cleaning up after a conflicted editor is searching for what has been omitted. See WP:COIRESPONSE. I searched a bit...

Nothing about Academic freedom at Brigham Young University anywhere in this article, or what it means to be a librarian at this private, religious university....

Parts of what librarians there do, that are perhaps unique to working there:

  • having part of library staff's job descriptions, including having to enforce the student dress code[1]
  • creating a ratings guide for books based based on the religion's morality that guides purchasing decisions (source cited but this is not discussed)[2]
  • a quote: "Harold B. Lee Library officials told the Universe that they carefully select and review books but do not censor them once purchased. Ironically, however, some students do. 'These self appointed censors mutilate and cut pages from books dealing with fields like literature, art, abnormal psychology, and political issues'. "[3]

Censorship-ish things...

  • Information about evolution being pulled from the library by university management[4]
  • not pulling, but controversy over Sunstone (magazine) being in the library (driven by a student)[5]


  1. ^ Waterman, Bryan; Kagel, Brian (1998). "4: Making Model Students: The Transformation of the Honor Code". The Lord’s University. 
  2. ^ Walch, Tad (5 October 2004). "Romance novels at BYU 'tame'". Deseret News. Retrieved 8 June 2017. 
  3. ^ "Censorship at BYU?" (PDF). Sunstone Magazine (30). November–December 1981. p. 60. 
  4. ^ Waterman, Bryan; Kagel, Brian (1998). "3: A Brief History of the Universe, BYU’s Student Newspaper". The Lord’s University. 
  5. ^ Waterman, Bryan; Kagel, Brian (1998). "3: A Tale of Two Statements: Academic Freedom and “Recent Symposia”". The Lord’s University. One student wrote a letter to the editor in which he described running across 'something that [he] would have never expected to find in the BYU library'—a copy of Sunstone magazine. Jason Bringhurst scanned it to see if it really was as bad as he had heard. It was, he concluded. “This magazine basically, without going into a lot of detail, expresses apostate views of members and former members, or should I say intellectual views, or views that differ from the Brethren … however you paint the picture it still spells APOSTASY!” he wrote. Bringhurst wondered why BYU would want this in the library, where “all students have free access to it? Is this the type of material that the Lord would have us’ read?” he asked. Bringhurst to the editor, Daily Universe, 19 Jan. 1994, emphasis in original. 

-- Jytdog (talk) 05:20, 16 June 2017 (UTC)

@Jytdog: To address your concerns individually:
  1. Academic freedom at BYU: Since this article is about the library at BYU, not BYU itself, it seems that would be better addressed at Brigham Young University, not here.
  2. Mormon Classification Schedules: Yes, it would be nice to have something about them, but unless reliable sources have discussed them, there's no valid reason to include them. Do you have some sources that can be used?
  3. Every employee at BYU is required to enforce the dress code, so there's no reason to mention it specifically for librarians.
  4. I can see adding something about the content rating. Feel free to work up something yourself, too. After all, one of your concerns is that a large chunk of the article is written by one employee at BYU, so how about reducing that percentage yourself? I've already done some (I've never attended or been employed by BYU, so I have no direct connection to it).
  5. Ditto on students and other patrons choosing to censor content.
  6. You seem to have access to The Lord's University, so feel free to add in any information you can source to it, including the apparent controversy over the inclusion of Sunstone issue in the library.
···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe · Join WP Japan! 06:06, 16 June 2017 (UTC)
Please see your talk page. Jytdog (talk) 06:12, 16 June 2017 (UTC)
@Jytdog:, I did mention the ratings and limits on the romance novel collection. It's under "Religious influence on collection", which, now that I think about it, might not be the most NPOV sub-heading ("censorship" seems a bit strong to me, because the collection is driven by patron wants, but it is technically accurate--feel free to change it.). There was one sentence I took out of my initial draft of the article, about how fines at the BYU library are higher than at the U of U, because there was no grace period on fines in 2004 (I believe it's the same today[1]).[2] When you mentioned academic freedom I thought of looking though The Lord's University too, but it looks like you've already done it! The part about taking the material out on evolution is really interesting. I'm a little surprised I didn't read about this in my research, but the 1980s and early 1990s were a bit of research blank spot for me (the Daily Universe online archives go back to 1996, and the has The Daily Herald only up to the late 1970s). I don't own this page, but if you are busy with other things, I'm happy to add the information you found about the evolution packet controversy and how students often police collections (this still happens). Rachel Helps (BYU) (talk) 15:58, 19 June 2017 (UTC)


  1. ^ "Checkout Privileges". Harold B. Lee library. Retrieved 19 June 2017. 
  2. ^ Steadman, Brittany (4 April 2002). "Y students pay heftier library fees than other university students – The Daily Universe". The Daily Universe. Retrieved 8 June 2017. 
Thanks for your note, Rachel Helps. The section on religious influence doesn't say that the librarians there created the ratings system and that they apply it. That part is somewhat significant in my view - it makes being a BYU librarian different than being one elsewhere, as well as making the book selection and access different.
I was also intrigued by the bit above, "Harold B. Lee Library officials told the Universe that they carefully select and review books but do not censor them once purchased.". I can only imagine that purchasing books for a university library at BYU (and similarly at other schools owned and closely managed by religious institutions) is quite different than purchasing books for a secular one, and I imagine that there may well be significant differences in the resulting collections (which are the cumulative result of purchasing decisions). Are you are aware of any literature on this that we could use to generate content about this library, and that would put this in context? Jytdog (talk) 16:13, 19 June 2017 (UTC)
I wasn't sure if I could find information on this, but I did find a news article![1] We actually collect everything related to Mormonism, no matter the content. We also have books that might offend students, who in turn could mutilate them. Also, we're a religious institution and we do restrict access to certain things. Most these items go in the locked case collection, although some items are expensive enough to be part of special collections, whose materials don't leave the library and are located on level 1. For example, the Kama Sutra is located in the locked case on level three.[2] The FAQ states that these items are available to anyone with circulation privileges (unlike the R-rated movies which are faculty use).[3] However, a student-run BYU Q&A site stated that students need permission to access explicit materials.[4] I found some historical information on the "locked case" collection too. The collection started in the 1930s, and in the 1970s, and included books like Counseling on Family Planning and Human Sexuality. J. Golden Kimball recordings were moved to the locked case for a time in the "mid-1970s." The same book states that "library administrators have resisted outside efforts to dictate what they will carry on bookstore and library shelves."[5] Rachel Helps (BYU) (talk) 17:37, 19 June 2017 (UTC)


  1. ^ Masters, Lauren (16 June 2003). "Locked case protects books and patrons – The Daily Universe". The Daily Universe. Retrieved 19 June 2017. 
  2. ^ "Kama sutra". 1963. 
  3. ^ "Frequently Asked Questions: What is Locked Case?". Harold B. Lee library. 
  4. ^ "Board Question #52219". 
  5. ^ Begera, Gary James; Priddis, Ronald (1995). Brigham Young University: A House of Faith. Salt Lake City, Utah: Signature Books. ISBN 0941214346. Retrieved 19 June 2017. 

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