Overview, Design & Technology

Welcome to the library of the future

Welcome to the Joe and Rika Mansueto Library, where unique engineering and bold design come together at the heart of campus to foster intellectual discovery.

The Joe and Rika Mansueto Library Grand Reading Room
The Joe and Rika Mansueto Library Grand Reading Room
Photo by Tom Rossiter

The Mansueto Library creates new spaces and tools for collections, preservation, and collaboration. Designed by Helmut Jahn, its inviting research space includes the Grand Reading Room, where scholars from all disciplines can work under a soaring elliptical glass dome with views of the historic UChicago campus.

The Mansueto Library can hold the equivalent of 3.5 million volumes, giving scholars and students immediate access to the materials they need for research.

Mansueto’s high-density automated storage and retrieval system (ASRS) requires just one-seventh of the space of regular stacks. When users request an item, a robotic crane retrieves the material within minutes.

A cross-disciplinary collection of materials from the existing libraries on campus will be united in the Mansueto Library. By opening up space in other campus libraries, the Mansueto Library allows for the creation of new study areas and fresh opportunities for collaboration within the libraries’ walls.

The Mansueto Library also houses state-of-the-art conservation and digitization laboratories that will preserve rare materials in their original form and through digitization. The digitization projects conducted here will enable research worldwide as well as innovative approaches to scholarly cooperation.

Ground Floor

Grand Reading Room

This 8,000-square-foot room provides comfortable seating for 180 faculty, students and visiting scholars under a soaring elliptical glass dome.

Circulation Service Center:  Library users check out materials they requested from the ASRS and obtain information from Library staff.

Preservation Department: The Library’s capacity to preserve its rich collections is greatly expanded in the new 6,000-square-foot area, which includes:

  • Conservation Laboratory:  A special paper washing sink, fume hoods, a suction table and ultrasonic encapsulator are used alongside traditional bookbinding equipment such as presses and sewing frames to conserve original artifacts.
  • Digitization Laboratory:  Digital cameras and scanners are used to create high-resolution digital images of unique book and paper materials.


Automated Storage and Retrieval System (ASRS): The ASRS shelves materials underground by size rather than library classification, in racks extending 50 feet down, with a capacity to hold 3.5 million volume equivalents.