October 4, 2008

Ground broken on library extension

[img id="80773" align="alignleft"] Over 200 University affiliates celebrated the groundbreaking of the Joe and Rika Mansueto Library extension on September 24. The library, an extension of the Regenstein Library, is being built on the northeast corner of East 57th Street and South Ellis Avenue.

President Robert Zimmer, who spoke at the groundbreaking, praised the $25 million gift from alumnus and CEO of Morningstar, Joe Mansueto (B.A. ’78, M.B.A ’80), and his wife Rika (B.A. ’91), that will fund the extension.

“Libraries of course are the key cornerstones of universities,” Zimmer said. “And as the nature of libraries evolves, the nature of what a library does expands.”

Architect Helmut Jahn designed the partially underground library to reflect the changing function of libraries in the way scholars and students do research. The library will feature a state-of-the-art book preservation facility and an automated shelving system with a robotic arm that retrieves patrons’ book requests. The space has the capacity to accommodate up to 3.5 million volumes of print material.

The University is also partnering with the Google Book Search project to digitize some of the library’s collection.

In addition to the automated shelves, the library will contain an expansive reading room covered by a large glass dome.

The extension “has all the combinations of what we would like at this university,” Provost Thomas Rosenbaum said.

Rosenbaum compared the new library to the pre-existing.

“The reading room will be populated day and night,” he said. “There will be social events, not just intellectual ones. Or maybe I shouldn’t distinguish between the two.”

Rika Mansueto also spoke, expressing her passion for both the University and the library’s innovative design.