The University of Chicago Library

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, 2013-2014




  *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 2014.


The Library builds and preserves outstanding research collections that support the present and future needs of its faculty, students, and staff. Distinctive collections include:

Forty-five percent of the Library’s collections are non-English and published outside the United States, 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 116 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 Library also works with faculty to preserve electronic research data in partnership with IT Services and the Research Computing Center.

Rapid Access and Browsability

Locating the vast majority of the Library’s print collections in open stacks at five of its six campus locations allow users to access holdings rapidly and to make serendipitous discoveries while browsing. Campus libraries with browsable shelving include:

  • The Joseph Regenstein Library for humanities, social sciences, business, and special collections
  • The John Crerar Library for science, medicine and technology
  • D’Angelo Law Library
  • Eckhart Library for mathematics, statistics and computer science
  • Social Services Administration Library

Approximately 20% of the circulating collections (more than a million volumes) have circulated within the last decade.

To maintain this extraordinary accessibility while continuing to build print collections, the new 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 expansion of collections on campus for the next decade and the retrieval of materials within an average time of three minutes through use of robotic cranes.

Library services facilitating access to collections include:

Support Services for Teaching, Learning, and Research

Teaching and learning support includes reference services, course reserves, library instruction and curriculum support, bibliographic management software, and technology-equipped classrooms and technical expertise.

Local, National, and International Initiatives