BACKGROUND The Joseph Regenstein Library opened
in 1970 and fundamentally altered the model of library service at
the University of Chicago. Prior to the construction of Regenstein,
numerous small departmental libraries played an integral role in
library service in conjunction with the concentration of
collections of the Harper Memorial Library. After Regenstein
opened, the departmental libraries were consolidated, first in the
Humanities and Social Sciences and, with the construction of the
John Crerar Library in 1984, in most of the Sciences. The measure
of success of the Regenstein, over twenty-five years, is the
regularity with which it is cited throughout the country as a model
of a great research library.
Regenstein was intended to house all of the relevant collections
in the Humanities and Social Sciences but sought to arrange them in
a manner that retained the strength of the departmental libraries
by associating materials that supported the specific research of
Chicago scholars. The functional diagram of the building put
faculty studies, generous reading rooms, library staff service
points and open stacks, organized around the University's active
scholarly disciplines, together on the various floors of the
library. An open arrangement of over 2,300 reader seats in the
reading rooms anticipated intensive use by the entire graduate and
Regenstein was also to be the locus of library support services
for the entire Library. These included administrative functions and
services such as library privileges and the bulk of technical
processing. The development and management of automated library
services were designed into Regenstein, although the original plan
could in no way anticipate the technological proliferation that has
occurred since 1970.
1. CHRONOLOGY OF THE RECONFIGURATION
As the Regenstein Library approached its twentieth anniversary,
the University Library administration engaged in a comprehensive
Library Planning Process (LPP) that culminated in the publication
of Goals for the Year
2000. One product of this initiative was the development of
the Regenstein Reconfiguration Project as a means of implementing
some of the Goals.
- Library Planning Process conducted- 1987-1990
- Goals for the Year
2000 published- 1990
- Regenstein Reconfiguration Project developed- 1990-1991
- Regenstein Foundation grant awarded to support reconfiguration-
- User Survey and Space Utilization Study
(Stillwater Report) conducted- 1995
- Provost's Reconfiguration Faculty Advisory Committee appointed-
- Shepley Bulfinch Richardson and Abbott conducts Architectural
Study of the Regenstein Library- 1995-1996
2. ASSUMPTIONS FOR THE REGENSTEIN
A series of assumptions about the reconfiguration, as a whole,
were developed to assist in determining the scope and content of
various steps in the project.
- The University requires a premiere research library for the
Humanities and Social Sciences, with both strong collections and
high quality user services.
- Collections must be adequately housed and readily
- Regenstein's stacks are functionally full.
- Regenstein's print collections will experience significant net
growth for the foreseeable future.
- The Library must maintain its quality and relevance to faculty
engaged in research and must enhance its role in undergraduate
learning and graduate training.
- The existing service program does not adequately meet the needs
of the Library's primary user groups: faculty, graduate students
- The size of the student body will undergo change in the next
- Electronic resources are increasing in number and in importance
in the research process.
- The 16 distributed service points in Regenstein cannot be
- The Regenstein building needs renovation and renewal of its
infrastructure, its interior finishes and its furnishings to meet
- The University will assist the Library in providing and raising
the funds necessary to accomplish the reconfiguration.
ASSUMPTIONS FOR THE ARCHITECTURAL STUDY OF THE
When it was determined that consulting architects should be
employed to conduct a study and make recommendations on the scope
of renovations and modifications needed in Regenstein, a more
refined set of assumptions was developed as part of the architect
- Regenstein reached its functional collection storage capacity
in Februrary 1996.
- Approximately 94,000 new volumes will be added to the
Regenstein collection annually for at least the next decade.
- Regenstein's 16 major service points cannot be effectively
staffed nor can a consistent service program be implemented from so
many service points.
- The capacity to introduce and maintain a widely distributed
network of information technology must replace the original concept
of centralized computing for the building.
- As the size of the undergraduate population grows, the need for
study space must be balanced with the intensive research patterns
of the graduate students and faculty.
- Basic renovation to both infrastructure and public spaces is
needed to ensure safety, comfort and optimum functionality.
- Regenstein must remain open and functional throughout the
DIRECTIVES and GOALS of the ARCHITECTURAL
- To evaluate the library needs of the University community for
the next 10-15 years.
- To determine the capacity of the Regenstein Library to meet
- To plan a functional and physical reconfiguration of the
Regenstein Library to better utilize its capacity and adequately
serve the University in the future.
- To flexibly implement the elements of the reconfiguration in a
manner that is in keeping with the resources available.
- To provide a set of options for the adequate storage of
collections in the Humanities and Social Sciences through the year
- To provide conceptual design for the consolidation of library
service points that will allow the Library to design a high quality
and flexible service program.
- To provide a conceptual design and space program that utilizes
- To provide a conceptual design that flexibly accommodates
current electronic information resources and supports future
3. PLANNING ASSUMPTIONS
SBRA, in consultation with the Library, developed a series of
planning assumptions to guide the broad based planning process.
They are as follows:
- The plan must address the Library's needs for the next 10-15
- Collections will continue to grow at a rate of approximately
94,000 volumes per year for the foreseeable future.
- The existing Regenstein facility will be functionally full in
the year 1996. The Architectural Study will address alternatives
for accommodating collections until the year 2012.
- Project of Reconfiguration will be phased to maintain
uninterrupted library services during the project.
- The size of the Library staff is likely to decrease and the
Reconfiguration must support the provision of service with the
- Undergraduate enrollment will grow in the next 10-15
- Regenstein will continue to serve the needs of undergraduate
students, graduate students, faculty and researchers.
- Retrospective conversion will be part of the Reconfiguration
- Reconfiguration will effectively accommodate technology.
PREFERRED RECONFIGURATION OPTION
Following discussion of generation planning issues and
completion of the program, SBRA developed a variety of planning
alternatives for the reconfiguration of Regenstein. The
alternatives covered both collection storage and programmatic
service issues in various combinations. These ranged from
constructing a substantial building addition that would maintain
the existing diagram of collection storage and provide a broad
spectrum of service alternatives to development of a remote storage
facility and minimal renovations to the existing building. Over a
period of two months, and several successive meetings, alternatives
were reviewed and modified. While a full scale building addition
would be the most desirable option its cost was seen as
prohibitive. A final, comprehensive planning option was selected
that allowed for collection growth within the existing building
through installation of compact shelving and provided substantial
flexibility in designing programs and services. Balancing cost
considerations, functionality and flexibility yielded the preferred
planning option described below.
The options, alternatives and final planning direction were
presented, discussed and reviewed by:
- Reconfiguration Steering Committee
- Library Staff Advisory Committee
- Library Management Council
- Reconfiguration Faculty Advisory Committee
DESCRIPTION OF PROPOSED PLANS
The proposed reorganization of the Regenstein Library is
illustrated on the following plans. The plans indicate spatial
relationships, departmental adjacencies and a hierarchy of services
within the building as well as locations for future collection
The following is a descripiton of proposed improvements for each
- Renovation of Level B and Installation of Compact
Shelving: Project includes the relocation of the Building
Services to Level A and the temporary relocation of Preservation,
Systems and Map departments; relocation of the collections housed
in the Level B stacks; removal of all existing conventional
shelves; and installation of new mobile aisle compact shelving over
the entire level. Installation of a security system in the portion
of the stacks that will house Special Collections. Upgrade
mechanical and electrical systems. Project will result in a stack
level capable of storing approximately 1.3 million volumes.
- Renovation of Level 1 Entrance Lobby, Reference &
Information Services, Circulation, User Training Room, and
Administration: Requires the permanent relocation of the
Chicago Humanities Institute to another University location and
retrospective conversion and removal of the card catalog. Project
includes renovating CHI space for the relocation of Library
Administration; redesign of the building entrance lobby; relocation
of the Circulation department adjacent to the lobby are; temporary
relocation of the Reference Department; renovation of the eastern
half of Level 1 for a new Reference & Information Department
and Public Computer Training Rooms; and final relocation for the
Reference & Information department to the renovated space.
- Renovation of Level A and remainder of Level
1: Project includes renovation of space and relocation of
Business & Economics Reading Room to Level 1; renovation of
Level A and relocation of Cataloging, Acquisitions, Serials,
Interlibrary Loan, Preservation, Systems and Stack Maintenance
departments; renovation of existing Special Collections staff
space, staff lounge, and Ex Libris student canteen; renovation of
the Special Collections on Level 1; creation of a consolidated
Current Periodicals/Reserves/Microforms department and public
function and meeting rooms on Level 1.
- Renovation of Level 3: Project includes
removal of the existing stair between levels 2 & 3 and
replacement with a stair connecting Levels 2-4 (with an opening and
skylight on Level 5);renovation of Level 3 service point;
relocation of all bibliographers and associated support staff to
Level 3; creation of a media center (with secured collection
space); relocation of the map collection to secured collection
space. Level 3 to include appropriate seminar and special purpose
- Renovation of Levels 2 & 4: Project
includes renovation of Reading Rooms to provide study/research
space, accommodate specialized collections (Humanities-Level 4,
Social Sciences-level 2), elimination of existing service points;
and conversion of former staff spaces to stacks.
- Renovation of Level 5: Project includes
renovation and expansion of the East Asia Reading Room; removal of
the barrier wall between East Asia and the other Area Studies;
renovation of Area Studies Reading Room, service desks and staff
- Construcion of Collection Storage Mezzanine in Level 5
Stacks: Project includes installation of a mezzanine book
stack with stairs and book lift access in a portion of the Level 5
stacks. Project will result in additional storage capacity of
approximately 118,000 volumes.
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