Scholars around the world recognize the significance of the University of Chicago Library, both as a repository of knowledge and as a working laboratory for training present and future generations of scholars. Living up to this dual mission, the University of Chicago Library is the only top research library in North America that is acting to keep its entire collection on campus for the next 20 years. By building the Joe and Rika Mansueto Library, the University of Chicago challenges the all-too-common belief that great collections of books are becoming obsolete. We believe, instead, that scholarship will thrive in an environment where print and electronic coexist, now and in the future.
Mass digitization leads users to collections; it does not take their place. As companies such as Google and libraries around the world digitize a growing proportion of books and make them searchable online, such search results will increasingly point the way to our rich print collection, fueling scholarly demand for access to these materials.
Effective research depends on ready access to such materials and hospitable spaces in which to use them. Faculty laud our library—for its great physical and electronic resources and for the extraordinary efficiency with which we deliver them—praising us for the scholarly productivity that we enable.
The Joe and Rika Mansueto Library is designed to take full advantage of technology to continue to provide elite service to the scholarly community. The University of Chicago Library's collection of immense scholarly value will be housed, preserved and delivered in a state-of-the-art environment at the heart of campus.
Superior functionality and iconic architecture come together in this distinctive building. The Joe and Rika Mansueto Library will rest like a crystal on the lawn, just steps from the central quadrangles, next to the crenellated walls of the Joseph Regenstein Library. In the words of its architect, Helmut Jahn, this building is a sacred space for lovers of knowledge and for its stewards: the university's research librarians, archivists, and conservators.
Scholars from around the world will join the scholarly community here to benefit from the extraordinary resources and the inspiring spaces of the Joe and Rika Mansueto Library.
Director and University Librarian
May 12, 2008