Libraries have a reputation of being enclosed in dark spaces where conversations are held over hushed tones, the smell of coffee emanating from the pores of every student and the discovery of something serendipitous with the help of librarians are commonplace. Well as you can tell, this is a bit different from the traditional study space. This egg-shaped dome is covered in 700 glass tiles and houses millions of books below by a robot. Each workstation comes equipped with beautiful lighting, an outlet, wide work area, trash cans and a comfortable sense of accomplishment once finished.
The Joe and Rika Mansueto Library opened at the heart of the University of Chicago campus in 2011. 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 retrieval of materials within an average time of 3 minutes through use of robotic cranes. 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.
If you’d like to visit the Joe and Rika Mansueto Library, you can follow the same instructions we were given:
While public tours are not offered for the Mansueto Library, as a visitor from beyond 60 miles of the university you are eligible for a visitor pass which allows you access to enter Mansueto. To acquire a visitor pass you can come to our office and present one form of government-issued photo ID (e.g., driver’s license, passport).
Please let us know if you have any further questions.
Our office is located in the lobby of the Regenstein Library:
1100 East 57th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
You will be given the option to use their computers and campus-wide Wi-Fi. Then, present your freshly minted pass to security before being buzzed in. The Mansueto Library is in the west wing so, make an immediate left down the long hallway.
Once in the library, please don’t interrupt the studying students with your audible oohs and ahhs. Photography is okay just as long as your not a nuisance. And no, you can’t ask or see how the robot goes down to the climate-controlled stacks. Happy reading on your own provided devices!