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, 2012-2013





The Library builds and preserves outstanding research collections that support the present and future needs of its faculty, students, and staff. Research-level collections include humanities, social sciences, business, physical and biological sciences, medicine, technology, law, mathematics, statistics, computer science, social work, and area studies. The greatest strengths of the 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, the University of Chicago Archives, and the Chicago Jazz Archive. Highlights include:

  • A comprehensive collection of Homer’s works
  • The Goodspeed New Testament Manuscript Collection
  • The Ludwig Rosenberger Library of Judaica
  • Manuscripts and correspondence of Marie Curie, Enrico Fermi, Stephen A. Douglas, Ida B. Wells, and Julius Rosenwald
  • Editorial files of Poetry: A Magazine of Verse
  • Business archives and printing samples of RR Donnelley

The Library is a leading advocate of digitization as a method of preservation and has created 84 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 Fire. The Library also works with faculty to preserve electronic research data including the Sloan Digital Sky Survey and the Oriental Institute’s Persepolis Fortification Archive.

Rapid Access and Browsability

Locating the vast majority of the Library’s print collections in open stacks at 5 of its 6 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 growing 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 two decades and the retrieval of materials within minutes through use of robotic cranes.

New User Services in 2012-2013

Support Services for Teaching, Learning, and Faculty Initiatives

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 Outreach

National and International Outreach