Building Collections

The Library’s print, digital, and multimedia collecting program continues the tradition started by President Harper's inspired 1891 purchase of the Berlin Collection of philology and physical sciences that formed the basis of the University of Chicago Library that now holds more than 11 million volumes. Today, we keep our collections current by adding print and electronic volumes at the rate of around 150,000 each year and by transforming materials into digital formats to support new types of research and to provide access across the globe. From treasures such as The Chicago Jazz Archive, the Southern and East Asian collections, and the Library's special collections of rare books and manuscripts to high-resolution digital facsimiles of the Goodspeed Manuscript Collection and maps of Chicago, the Library’s collections remain at the heart of the University’s research and teaching activities.

$5,000,000
multiple opportunities starting at $100,000

Provide ready funds for limited opportunity collections.

Gifts to a strategic collections fund allow the Library to continue its practice of ambitious collection-building and ease the general collections budget. A discretionary fund provides the Library the freedom it needs to act quickly to obtain a highly desirable and specific rare collection when it comes onto the market and more generally to create a subject collection as new programs within the University are established.

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$5,000,000
multiple opportunities starting at $250,000

Support the transformation of collections to enable new types of research.

Making materials available in various digital formats supports innovative uses of traditional materials. Endowing the Digital Program will support investment in state-of-the-art technology for our digitization labs, the development of innovative interfaces, skilled staff, and participation in collaborative opportunities that optimize our digital collections.

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$5,000,000
multiple opportunities starting at $100,000

Ensure the general collections program into the future.

Gifts to the overall collections program will fund a wide range of activities tied to the Library’s collections -- from processing and describing physical collections to creating digital resources. The collections program is made possible through endowments to fund, for example, internships for specific projects and for hiring skilled staff.

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$1,500,000

Enable description and access to our archival collections.

Effective and efficient processing of archival collections depends upon the training, expertise, and judgment of an experienced professional archivist. The processing archivist evaluates each collection, arranges and describes the contents, and creates a finding aid and catalogue record to provide online discovery and access. An archivist position is needed to address the needs of the rapidly growing collections and ensure that new resources can be made accessible in a timely manner for research and teaching.

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$1,000,000
multiple opportunities starting at $50,000

Establish a fund that ensures collection-building into the future.

The library’s ability to build great collections is enhanced by collection endowments. These funds support our general collection needs and also provide us the opportunity to purchase needed materials that would otherwise be beyond our means. Donors will have the opportunity to fund a general collection endowment or one that is subject specific and will be recognized in the catalog.

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$500,000
multiple opportunities starting at $5,000

Put an important collection on the web.

Digitizing collections puts resources in the hands of students in their dorm rooms and researchers around the world. Books can be made searchable, rare and fragile materials can be protected from too much handling, and images can be enlarged for close study.

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$500,000
multiple opportunities starting at $5,000

Expand access to resources through partnerships with peer institutions.

Chicago’s rich and deep collections co-exist with other great collections in this country and around the world. New tools and techniques increase our ability to think of our collection as part of a wider network of materials, allowing us to provide seamless access to a much larger community collection for our patrons. Collaborative collection-building with trusted partners in the Ivy League greatly enhances the user experience and it requires libraries of the future to engage in thoughtful, careful, and strategic collecting activities. A gift to the connecting collections project will support the infrastructure for such collaboration, as well as the ongoing obligations tied to joint collecting and preservation.

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$100,000

Support opportunities to partner with high-volume scanning projects.

Collaboration with initiatives like the Google Digitization Project has allowed the Library to make a large number of the materials from its general collections available to a broad audience using efficient and cost-effective scanning. Such collaborations may provide scanning for free but still require Library staffing to pull and pack materials. Help us continue to take advantage of such fruitful partnerships.

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multiple opportunities at all levels

Support the purchase and print and digital resources.

A gift to the Library’s Fund for Books is a wonderful way to honor individuals or to celebrate meaningful life events. Gifts under $5,000 are added to a general expendable book fund, larger gifts will also be expended at the library’s discretion in consultation with the donor, and the donor will be recognized in the catalog.

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  • The Library is so many things...It is a beacon that attracts our fellows and collaborators from all over the world. Its collections rank among our most important research instruments.

    David Nirenberg Deborah R. and Edgar D. Jannotta Professor of Social Thought, Medieval History, Middle East Studies, and the College; Dean, Social Sciences Division

Enabling Use

The University of Chicago’s libraries are laboratories for learning, continually redefined by our faculty and students who use them as places to study and collaborate, to locate information, to undertake research, to synthesize and to create knowledge – and to do so using the latest technologies. Staffed with reference librarians, subject specialists, archivists, technologists, document delivery specialists, and other professionals who can direct and assist users, the Library offers a variety of services to meet the particular needs of faculty and students at varying levels in diverse fields. The University of Chicago Library is recognized as a leader in providing services to users and needs your support to remain at the forefront of serving.

$2,500,000
multiple opportunities starting at $100,000

Help students, faculty and visiting researchers to optimize scholarly resources.

In the electronic age, both beginning students and advanced researchers need expert instruction and support in order to use scholarly resources effectively. Graduate students, faculty, and visiting researchers have highly specialized research topics that require individual attention. The Library plays an increasingly important role in providing in-person and online assistance in classes, via online guides and tutorials, and intense one-on-one consultations. GIS, statistical software, and tools for textual analysis are some examples of invaluable technologies for research, study and learning. An endowed fund is needed to provide adequate staffing to meet these essential needs.

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$2,500,000

Enable the Library to secure and maintain the latest technology.

Endowing a permanent Technology Fund will ensure that the Library has the necessary financial resources to use and make available the latest technology for students and faculty. Technology quickly becomes outdated due to technological advances and needs to be regularly upgraded or repaired. Funds raised will ensure that the Library’s technology is up-to-date – e.g. that the Library is able to upgrade its systems with technologies as they emerge; that the Library provides its staff with state-of-the-art laptops or computing devices for the teaching of users; that users have access to a large format printer; or that we can afford to purchase the newest equipment as needed, such as a 27” Tablet which turns into a table and can be used by students for collaborative work.

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$500,000
multiple opportunities starting at $25,000

Support the enhancement of study spaces.

Funds are needed to create spatial environments that provide for the seamless integration of study, teaching and research with Library resources and services. Top priorities include increased dynamic working spaces outfitted with the latest technologies which promote collaborative study, learning and research. Help re-invigorate or build state-of-the-art classrooms, a research commons, a hands-on computer training room, group study spaces, and dedicated writers’ carrels for students working on their dissertations.

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$1,000,000
multiple opportunities starting at $100,000

Promote learning through our dynamic exhibition program.

The Library has a growing exhibition program which serves to better our understanding and appreciation of its collections. The newly created Special Collections exhibition gallery and the impressive exhibition presentation spaces in the John Crerar Science Library are ideal venues in which to mount exhibitions and host public programs. A key component of the Library's exhibition program includes web-based exhibitions, which often have interactive features such as maps and tours. A permanent endowment will support exhibition internships, the acquisition of traveling exhibitions, and the skilled staff needed to ensure the continuation of high quality presentations for the web and gallery spaces.

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  • In this library much that had been impossible becomes possible, and much that had been difficult becomes easy.

    James Redfield Edward Olson Distinguished Service Professor

Preserving for the Future

Preserving the Library's physical and digital collections is an investment in the future that ensures students and scholars can continue to take advantage of our premier resources. The Library holds rich and unique collections ranging from papyri to digital maps but these collections are at risk from age and use. The Library’s Preservation Program ensures that collections can be repaired, stabilized, and safely housed for future generations. An investment in preservation allows the Library to proactively ensure the long-term availability of its collections.

$5,000,000
multiple opportunities starting at $250,000

Ensure the long-term care of the Library’s physical collections.

Aging and well-used collections need environmental controls, repair, and conservation treatments to extend their useable life for future students and scholars. Endowing the Preservation Program will support the Library’s overall collections care program including preservation internships, a well-equipped conservation lab, and skilled conservation staff.

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$5,000 - $500,000
multiple opportunities

Repair and conserve an at risk collection.

Torn pages, damaged binding structures, and unstable materials such as brittle paper put our collections at risk for future use. Your gift can support the staffing and materials needed to conserve a collection like the Western Codex Manuscripts.

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$5,000 - $500,000
multiple opportunities

Migrate audio, video, films and other endangered media to digital form.

Preservation of obsolete media is costly but of critical importance. Older films and audio/video tapes are highly unstable, rapidly decaying, and in urgent need of migration to digital format for long-term preservation. The Archives holds recordings of faculty lectures, classes, performances, and other important events in the life of the University and the Chicago Jazz Archive documents the early history of jazz in the City.

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  • I have learned an extraordinary amount regarding not only preservation administration but also how to be an effective and collaborative librarian in a world-class institution.

    William Schlaack 2013 Mary and Samuel Somit Preservation Intern at the University of Chicago Library

Strategic Opportunities Fund

The University of Chicago Library embraces both the promise and the challenges of the future. There is a rapidly increasing demand from users for quick and efficient access to materials – in both virtual and physical environments. Building on its strengths, the Library strives to maintain its forward momentum and must continuously test new initiatives through pilot projects, maintain its hold on the latest technologies, and purchase products, services and collections resources as they become available. The Strategic Opportunities Fund provides the Library with flexibility to invest in the future, employ innovation, seek fruitful partnerships with peer institutions, and build its core capacities in preservation, digitization and collection development – all with the aim to offer its users the optimal learning and research environment. There are multiple opportunities within the Strategic Opportunities Fund to make expendable gifts for immediate use, and to set up an endowment in order to nurture our long-term vision.

To learn more about the Strategic Opportunities Fund, please contact Yasmin Omer, Director of Development, at (773) 834-3744. or via email. yasminomer@uchicago.edu

  • ...the whole library system is wonderful. It's one of the main glories of UC, and a major reason to work here rather than anywhere else.

    Faculty Member 2013 Faculty Survey

The Library Annual Fund

The Library Annual Fund supports all of the Library’s core areas, from its vast collections and excellent level of service to its overal preservation and digitization programs. The Library gratefully accepts donations of any amount in support of its annual fund. This fund provides vital, general support and puts your gift to work immediately.

Make a gift today

  • The Library is one of the shining stars of the University of Chicago.

    Faculty Member 2013 Library Survey

How to Give to the Library

Special Gifts

There are multiple opportunities to make both immediate-use and endowed special gifts to the Library, such as the opportunities described above. If you would like to learn more about making a directed gift to the Library in support of building collections, enabling use, preserving for the future, or to the strategic opportunities fund, please contact Yasmin Omer, Director of Development at (773) 834 3744 or via email. yasminomer@uchicago.edu

Online

Use the University of Chicago’s secure online giving form. Once online, you will be prompted to choose how you would like to designate your gift. From the drop-down menu, please select Library Fund: Annual Fund. The link below should automatically select the Library's Annual Fund in the dropdown menu.

Phone

Contact the Library Development Office at (773) 702-7695 to make a gift.

Mail

You may send your gift in the form of a check payable to University of Chicago Library to:

Barbara Palmer-Bostick
Development Associate
University of Chicago Library
1100 East 57th Street, Suite 180
Chicago, IL 60637

Planned gifts and gifts of securities

For information on including the Library in your estate plans, or to make a gift of securities, please contact Yasmin Omer, Director of Development, at (773) 834-3744 or via email. yasminomer@uchicago.edu

Donate books and materials

For information on donating a unique book or collection to the Library, please contact Scott Perry, Head, Collection Support, at (773) 702-8734 or via email at stp0@uchicago.edu. Due to the high cost of storage and processing materials, the Library is unable to accept all donations. In such cases, the Library may be able to suggest suitable alternatives. Inquiries are most welcome.

Contact Us!

Yasmin Omer
Director of Development
(773) 834-3744
yasminomer@uchicago.edu

Angela Mota
Assistant Director of Development
(773) 702-8742
amota@uchicago.edu

Barbara Palmer-Bostick
Development Associate
(773) 702-7695
bbostick@uchicago.edu