The gift of books


By 2010 the University will have a new library just west of the Regenstein, thanks to a $25 million gift from Morningstar CEO Joe Mansueto, AB’78, MBA’80, and his wife Rika, AB'91. Patrons will read and lounge beneath an elliptical glass dome reaching 35 feet high, while millions of printed volumes will live 50 feet underground, called up by an automated retrieval system.

The Mansueto Library, announced yesterday by President Robert J. Zimmer, provides space for the University to keep its ever-expanding collection local—and for the collection to grow another 22 years, says library director Judith Nadler. The Regenstein reached capacity in 2007, and while universities such as Harvard, Yale, Columbia, and Brown have moved materials off-site, Chicago went a different route, maintaining its entire print collection on campus.

Designed by Chicago-based architect Helmut Jahn, the Mansueto Library will contain a conservation and preservation facility; an area for Special Collections staff members to pick up requested materials and bring them back to the Reg's Special Collections Research Center; an 8,000-square-foot reading room; and the capacity for 3.5 million volumes of print material. Library users will request a source through the online catalog or search engine (Lens), and a robotic crane will retrieve it within a few minutes.


Photo: An architect's drawing shows the future Mansueto Library from the south; a cross-section rendering shows the automated shelving and retrieval system.

Images courtesy Helmut Jahn.

May 12, 2008