The Grand Reading Room of the Joe and Rika Mansueto Library is now open to students, faculty and staff, since May 16. The library boasts a massive underground storage area holding 3.5 million volumes on 50-foot-high shelves.
The collection is managed by robotic systems that help create an environment where scholars can scour the web for hours for academic papers and still get a hard-to-find volume from the stacks.
As more books and journals become easily accessible online, it’s easy to wonder if brick-and-mortar libraries could go the way of the video store. But research at the university has shown that the more people look to digital resources, the more they consult physical materials as well, according to Judith Nadler, director of the University of Chicago Library.
The reading room, which seats 180, will be fully accessible to University of Chicago library patrons starting May 16. The preliminary process of moving printed materials into the library’s underground storage facility should be completed this fall. A formal dedication ceremony for the library will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 11.
The Mansueto Library houses cutting-edge facilities for the preservation and digitization of physical books, as well as a high-density underground storage system with the capacity to hold 3.5 million volume equivalents. The new library is designed to fulfill scholars’ needs for easy access to print resources, at a time when many other research universities are moving collections to off-site storage. With its prime location on campus and innovative design, the Mansueto Library provides an inviting and up-to-date space for rigorous scholarship in an array of fields.