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, 2011-2012
- 6 campus libraries with capacity to store approximately 11 million print volumes on campus
- 205 miles of shelving
- Average Mansueto book retrieval time: 7.5 minutes
- 333,630 volumes circulated to 14,414 unique individuals
- 12,359 Scan & Deliver requests
- 5,287 UBorrow requests
- 5.6 million successful responses to full-text article requests
- 1,131,530 entries into Regenstein and 142,622 entries into Crerar
- 9,610 visiting researchers unaffiliated with the University
- 21,248 questions to reference librarians
- 4,000+ 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. 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:
- History of religions (Western and non-Western)
- Biological sciences
- History of science, technology and medicine
- East Asia
- South Asia
- Middle East
- Slavic and Eastern Europe
- Classics and Ancient Near East
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 50 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, in fact, 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 Access Services in 2012
- Scan & Deliver: Article and book chapter scanning request service for faculty and students. Scanned articles are available within 4 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. By the end of Spring Quarter 2012, recalls of Library books had dropped 29%, one of the major objectives of the program.
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.
- 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 October 2011, the Library and IT Services opened a new TECHB@R on the 1st floor of Regenstein to offer walk-up support for IT issues, equipment loans, videoconferencing, and joint training.
- The Library developed the Copyright Information Center with IT Services, the Provost's Office and the Office of Legal Counsel.
- The Library provides technical infrastructure for faculty initiatives including:
- Online Cultural Heritage Research Environment (Oriental Institute)
- ARTFL - The Project for American and French Research on the Treasury of the French Language (Humanities Division)
- Chicago Historical Archive of Mesoamerican Linguistics (Center for Latin American Studies)
- Digital Media Archive (Humanities Division)
- eCUIP: K-12 outreach program brings faculty-produced content to the Chicago Public Schools.
- Uncovering New Chicago Archives Project (UnCAP): Mellon-funded program to engage UChicago graduate students in using their subject expertise to process hidden collections at Chicago area cultural institutions.
- 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.
National and International Outreach
- Google Books Project: Partnership with Google, through the Committee on Institutional Cooperation, to digitize selected collections. To date over 100,000 volumes have been digitized, including over 21,000 in the public domain.
- Robert L. Platzman Memorial Fellowships: Since 2006, the Library has awarded 57 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.
- Texting China—Composition, Transmission, and Preservation of Pre-Modern Chinese Textual Materials:Scholars of pre-modern China, curators of Chinese research library collections, and preservation experts from China, North America and Europe came together for the first time in the U.S. for an international symposium on pre-modern Chinese texts.
- 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.