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The Courtyard, located on the Ground floor of the Neilson Library, brings greenery and sunlight to the underground section of the building’s Ruth J. Simmons Wing. The glass walls are lined with chairs for individual study, and quiet study carrels are located close by for private study. Bordering the carrels are some sections of the general collections, housed by compact shelving. Library users are welcome to visit the Courtyard while the Neilson Library is open.
The garden landscaping is simple but elegant, featuring five yellow birch trees and groundcover. Yellow birch is a native New England tree that can be found on steep hillsides and mountains, especially to the north of Northampton; it is loved for its shiny silvery-yellow appearance. Outside, heated walkways provide all season access to the Courtyard.
The trees are complemented with a groundcover of barren strawberry, which is not actually a strawberry, but a botanical relative. This perennial occurs throughout much of the eastern US and makes for an active competitor to weeds, with small yellow flowers in the spring and dense green foliage throughout the growing season.