The University of Chicago Library
Library Director and University Librarian: Brenda Johnson
As a center of intense intellectual inquiry, the University of Chicago Library shares with the University of Chicago the aspiration to be the most dynamic research and learning environment in the world, supporting the University's commitment to research and teaching in the sciences, social sciences, humanities, and the College and to using its intellectual resources to help solve the world's problems.
By the Numbers, 2014-2015
- 9th largest research library in North America*
- 11 million volumes in print and electronic form
- 59,582 linear feet of archives and manuscripts
- 137 terabytes of born-digital archives, digitized collections, and research data
- 238,017 print volumes circulated to 13,347 unique individuals
- 8.9 million electronic articles delivered
- 1.9 million uses of electronic books
- 23,314 Scan & Deliver requests
- 17,186 UBorrow requests and 9,848 BorrowDirect requests
- 21,987 questions to librarians
- 9,313 attendees at training sessions
*Library ranking is based on the most recent data available (published October 2014) from the Association of Research Libraries and other sources. All other data date from June 2015.
- 1.2 million entries into Regenstein and 141,278 entries into Crerar
- 34,205 visits by researchers unaffiliated with the University
- 2 million visits to the Library website
- 961,178 visits to the Library Catalog
The Library builds and preserves outstanding research collections that support the present and future needs of its faculty, students, and staff. Distinctive collections include:
- History of religions (Western and non-Western)
- East Asia
- South Asia
- Middle East
- Slavic and Eastern Europe
- Classics and Ancient Near East
- Biological sciences
- History of science, technology and medicine
Forty-five percent of the Library’s collections are in languages other than English, supporting faculty research with a global impact and making the Library a mecca for international scholars.
The Special Collections Research Center is home to the Library’s rare books, manuscripts, and the University of Chicago Archives. Highlights include:
- A comprehensive collection of print editions of Homer’s works
- The Goodspeed New Testament Manuscript Collection
- The Ludwig Rosenberger Library of Judaica
- Editorial files of Poetry: A Magazine of Verse
- The Chicago Jazz Archive
- The John Crerar Collection of Rare Books in the History of Science and Medicine
- Papers of Saul Bellow, Enrico Fermi, Harriet Monroe, Ida B. Wells, and S. Chandrasekhar
- Business archives and printing samples of RR Donnelley
The Library is a leading advocate of digitization as a method of preservation and has created 127 digitized collections that are accessible online, with items ranging from medieval manuscripts to early editions of Chopin scores to maps of Chicago before and after the Great Chicago Fire.
The University of Chicago Library serves its users from 6 locations at the heart of campus, providing faculty and students with rapid access to its collections, research and study spaces, and diverse services.
- The John Crerar Library for science, medicine and technology
- D’Angelo Law Library
- Eckhart Library for mathematics
- The Joe and Rika Mansueto Library
- The Joseph Regenstein Library for humanities, social sciences, business, and special collections
- Social Services Administration Library
The Joe and Rika Mansueto Library was opened at the heart of campus in 2011. Designed by renowned architect Helmut Jahn, the Mansueto Library has been recognized with a Distinguished Building Citation of Merit by the American Institute of Architects’ Chicago chapter and a Patron of the Year Award by the Chicago Architecture Foundation. It features a soaring elliptical glass dome capping a 180-seat Grand Reading Room, state-of-the-art conservation and digitization laboratories, and an underground high-density automated storage and retrieval system with the capacity to store 3.5 million volumes. The Mansueto Library speeds scholarly productivity by allowing for the retrieval of materials within an average time of 3 minutes through use of robotic cranes.
Library services facilitating access to collections include:
- Scan & Deliver: Article and book chapter scanning request service for faculty and students. Scanned articles are available within 4 business days of request.
- UBorrow: Rapid access to over 90 million books from the collections of Big 10 university libraries. Since the service began in February 2012, recalls of Library books have dropped 60%; reduction of recalls was one of the major objectives of the program.
- BorrowDirect: Rapid access to over 60 million books from the Ivy League, MIT, Johns Hopkins, and Duke university libraries.
Support Services for Teaching, Learning, and Research
Teaching and learning support includes reference and research services, course reserves, library instruction and curriculum support, bibliographic management software support, technology-equipped classrooms, and technical expertise.
- Data management: Librarians assist faculty in obtaining research grants by helping them address funder requirements for data management plans, for access policies, and for data deposit.
- Legal research instruction: Law librarians instruct students in first-year and advanced legal research and writing courses.
- Tailored instruction for courses: Science, humanities, social sciences, and special collections librarians teach sessions on the effective use of specialized print and electronic resources, and on using primary sources, often tailoring instruction for specific courses in collaboration with instructors. In addition, all newly created courses in Chalk, the University’s course management system, include a module from the Library that suggests appropriate research guides and librarian contacts for the course.
- Specialized point-of-need services: Librarians provide point-of-need services to students in a wide range of fields and locations, such as medical students on clinical rounds at the hospital, law students preparing for interviews with prospective employers, and students at Chicago Booth working on new product development with executives at major companies. Students and faculty are also able to schedule consultations with librarians for personalized in-depth research assistance.
- Information literacy instructor training: The Library is hosting a customized version of the Association of College and Research Libraries’ respected Information Literacy Immersion Program, an intensive training course designed to help librarians develop effective research instruction programs for the communities they serve. In September 2015, 36 UChicago Library staff members will participate in a 3-day retreat focusing on learning theory, instructional design, effective classroom techniques, and the assessment of students.
- TECHB@R: A partnership between the Library and IT Services provides walk-up support for IT issues, equipment loans, videoconferencing, and joint training on the first floor of Regenstein Library.
- Technical infrastructure for faculty research: The Library provides technical infrastructure for faculty research such as the OCHRE Data Service in the Oriental Institute, and the ARTFL Project (Project for American and French Research on the Treasury of the French Language).
- Exhibitions: The Special Collections Research Center presents 4-5 gallery exhibitions a year, with associated web exhibits. Faculty, students and alumni are invited to curate exhibitions that engage the public in an exploration of scholarly subjects, illustrated by the Library’s rare and unique materials. Additional exhibits at the John Crerar Library and on the upper floors of Regenstein explore topics of current interest and highlight strengths in the Library’s collections.
- Plato’s Cave at the Library: The Library collaborates with Graduate Student Affairs to provide a quiet, dedicated writing space for graduate students working on dissertation proposals, dissertations, and fellowship applications.
Local, National, and International Initiatives
- The University of Chicago Repository: The Library is partnering with IT Services and the Research Computing Center to build and maintain an institutional repository to preserve and share the scholarly, creative, and administrative digital assets of the University.
- Chicago Unbound: An online repository for scholarship by the Law School faculty was developed by the D’Angelo Law Library and the Law School’s Communications Department and launched in 2014. It unites the record of scholarship produced at the Law School in one online platform, making it accessible to a world audience. Visitors have downloaded more than 640,000 publications to date.
- A Day in the Life Mapping Project: Using applied ethnographic methods developed for academic libraries, 6 academic medical libraries led by UChicago’s John Crerar Library investigated how third-year medical students seek and use information in the course of daily activities. The study focused in particular on the ways that the students seek, evaluate, and use medical information in the context of patient care and clinical decision making.
- Google Books Project: The UChicago Library has a partnership with Google, through the Committee on Institutional Cooperation, to digitize selected collections.
- HathiTrust: The UChicago Library participates in a partnership of more than 100 major research institutions and libraries working to ensure that the cultural record is preserved and accessible long into the future. The HathiTrust Digital Library, a digital preservation repository and highly functional access platform, provides long-term preservation and access services for public domain and in copyright content from a variety of sources, including those digitized by Google, the Internet Archive, Microsoft, and in-house partner institution initiatives.
- Kuali OLE: The UChicago Library is a founding partner in the Kuali Open Library Environment, an open source, community based library management system. OLE is the first system designed by and for academic and research libraries to manage and deliver scholarly information. In Summer 2014, UChicago became one of the first two universities to launch OLE.
- Academic Preservation Trust (AP Trust): The UChicago Library is an active participant in this national consortium of 17 research libraries that is building preservation solutions for academic and research content.
- Chicago Collections: The UChicago Library is a major partner with other universities, libraries, and museums in the creation of a new online portal, Explore Chicago Collections, which documents the rich history and culture of the Chicago region. The web portal will be launched in fall 2015.
- The Black Metropolis Research Consortium (BMRC): The UChicago Library is working with the BMRC to build a search interface that will provide access to member institutions’ collections about African American and African diasporic culture, history, and politics, with a specific focus on materials relating to Chicago.
- Robert L. Platzman Memorial Fellowships: Since 2006, the Library has awarded 95 fellowships to visiting researchers from the U.S., Britain, Germany, Canada, and Mexico to support work on projects that require on-site consultation of Library archives, manuscripts, or printed materials.