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*
- 9th largest research library in North America
- 12.6 million volumes in print and electronic form
- 57,240 linear feet of archives and manuscripts
- 131 terabytes of born-digital archives, digitized collections, and research data
- 6 campus libraries with capacity to store approximately 11 million print volumes on campus
- 205 miles of shelving
*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.
- 270,053 volumes circulated to 14,101 unique individuals
- 22,161 Scan & Deliver requests
- 13,654 UBorrow requests and 10,327 BorrowDirect requests
- 9.1 million successful responses to full-text article requests
- 1,247,924 entries into Regenstein and 137,745 entries into Crerar
- 34,411 visiting researchers unaffiliated with the University
- 23,424 questions to reference librarians
- 9,600 attendees at training sessions
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 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:
- Scan & Deliver: Article and book chapter scanning request service for faculty and students. Scanned articles are available within four calendar days of request.
- UBorrow: Rapid access to over 90 million books from the collections of 12 regional university libraries and the Center for Research Libraries. Since the service began in February 2012, recalls of Library books have dropped 42%, one of the major objectives of the program.
- Borrow Direct: Rapid access to over 50 million books from the Ivy League and additional selected libraries became available in Fall 2013.
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.
- Law librarians instruct students in first-year and advanced legal research and writing courses.
- Science, humanities, social sciences, and special collections librarians teach sessions on the effective use of specialized print and electronic resources, and 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.
- The TECHB@R, a partnership between the Library and IT Services, offers walk-up support for IT issues, equipment loans, videoconferencing, and joint training on the first floor of Regenstein Library.
- 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. Chicago Unbound unites the record of scholarship produced at the Law School in one online platform, making it accessible to a world audience.
- The Library provides technical infrastructure for faculty initiatives such as the OCHRE Data Service in the Oriental Institute, and the ARTFL Project, the Project for American and French Research on the Treasury of the French Language.
Local, National, and International Initiatives
- The Neubauer Family Collegium for Culture and Society: a University initiative supporting humanistic scholarship at the University and around the world, has been located in Regenstein Library since Fall 2013. Scholars supported by the Collegium and librarians are collaborating on several projects.
- eCUIP: a K-12 outreach program hosted by the Library brings faculty-produced content to the Chicago Public Schools.
- Chicago Collections Consortium: The Library is providing leadership in the creation of a new consortium of museums, universities, and libraries to provide access to collections about the history of Chicago.
- Google Books Project:The Library has a partnership with Google, through the Committee on Institutional Cooperation, to digitize selected collections.
- Kuali OLE: The UChicago Library is a partner in the Mellon-funded Kuali Open Library Environment to build an open source platform for scholarly support and knowledge management.
- Academic Preservation Trust (AP Trust): The Library is a member of the Academic Preservation Trust, a national consortium of major research libraries to create a digital repository spanning multiple universities.
- Robert L. Platzman Memorial Fellowships: Since 2006, the Library has awarded 84 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.