Covering the Land of Lincoln

Prep work underway for $46.8 million first phase of UI Undergraduate Library conversion | University-illinois

URBANA – The University of Illinois’ iconic Undergraduate Library is currently preparing for a makeover.

All but three shelving units valued at over 118,000 volumes were relocated to other locations on campus months prior to the upcoming evacuation of the underground library.

In the next academic year, the library, built in 1969, will begin its transformation into the new home for the UI’s rare book collections and archives.

The University Library and the University Senate Library Committee are hosting a number of town halls to keep students and staff informed of redevelopment plans.

A virtual meeting is scheduled today at 3 p.m. and will be chaired by the architecture and engineering offices that the library brought on board this summer to design the new library space. Interested parties must register at {a class = “oajrlxb2 g5ia77u1 qu0x051f esr5mh6w e9989ue4 r7d6kgcz rq0escxv nhd2j8a9 nc684nl6 p7hjln8o kvgmc6g5 cxmmr5t8 oygrvhab hcukyx3x jb3vyjys rz4wbd8a qt6c0cv9 a8nywdso i1ao9s8h esuyzwwr f1sip0of lzcic4wl py34i1dx gpro0wi8” tabindex = “0” href = “https: //go.library. illinois.edu/Nov18?fbclid=IwAR2gvTkh0UQL-N_ZxGUMX1q7vWXk7xyD38kIyMcQiFaWW0yPDZis7z57aW0 “rel =“ nofollow noopener “target =“ _ blank “} go.

“We were committed to a high level of communication and transparency when we started this project, so this is one of those opportunities to get in touch with campus,” said John Wilkin, dean and senior librarian.

As a campus hub for study rooms and student services, the library will be vacated in May 2022 before being converted into a special collection.

For years, UI librarians and campus members have been looking for a safer, more accessible home for the university’s rarest books and documents.

A migrant into the room will be the UI’s Rare Book & Manuscript Library, which for its diverse 600,000 volume collection of documents from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, early printed books and literary papers by classic authors such as Marcel Proust, Carl Sandburg, HG Wells is known and Gwendolyn Brooks.

The university archives and their student life and culture archive will also be moving to the redesigned library, as will the Illinois History and Lincoln Collections.

“Our special collections, the rarities and archive collections, are exceptional. They’re some of the most important and best in the world, and they didn’t have the home they should, ”said Wilkin. “The old stacks not only cause them to deteriorate, they also endanger them. It is a fire hazard and not a flexible space. “

The renovation, estimated at approximately $ 46.8 million, is the first step in a four-phase project to redesign the central library area on campus over the next few years, which is expected to cost around $ 250 million in total.

After the renovation, five of the six main magazines in the main library will be torn down. In its place, a five-storey infill will be created with a modernized “interdisciplinary hub” for students and teachers.

On the proposal of the Board of Trustees, which is due to be voted on today, the UI will ask the state to ask for $ 100 million for fiscal 2023 to fund these parts of the project.

“Gone are the days when libraries only held books and magazines and offered quiet study rooms for students. Libraries now play an important role as digital learning centers supporting students, faculty and staff, ”the budget item reads.

Construction kit for 2023

Finally, a roof will be added to the special collection building “of a height and angle so as not to disturb the neighboring Morrow Plots,” according to the UI Library website.

Construction on the Undergrad Library is set to begin in January 2023 and finish around May 2024, said Wilkin, who expects all rare collections to be housed in the new underground facility by 2025.

“We have this timeline very clearly; we don’t do the rest, ”he said.

The fall and spring semesters have two main focuses: to confirm the details of the redesign of the library and to complete an escape plan for the student union. Both will be discussed at today’s session and Q&A, and campus visitors are encouraged to bring their reviews.

All volumes in the Undergrad Library will be transferred to various locations on campus – including the main library stack and the Oak Street Library Facility – by the winter break, said the library’s chief communications officer, Heather Murphy.

With Champaign-based engineering firms Ratio Architects and Boston-based engineering firm Shepley Bulfinch involved in the renovation, there is an opportunity to finalize the layout for those collections, the aesthetics of the space, and ultimately the finishes of the space and furnishings, said Tom Teper, associate Dean and Librarian.

“This semester is all about Ratio and Shepley Bulfinch companies, making what we’re going to do a reality, making things very concrete, and we’re now coming to the end of that phase,” said Wilkin. “All of these things are in full swing.”

Preliminary plans available

The last time the library checked in with staff and students, the designs were still in the conceptual phase: the university was still checking that all of the items would fit into the Undergrad library space, Teper said.

The question is no longer whether, but how the collections will fit into the room and what the aesthetic layout will look like.

Officials have formulated tentative plans for where the library’s student services and study locations will be distributed across campus by fall 2022.

Its Media Commons room will join the Scholarly Commons in the main library, while some space will also be allocated for the upstairs writing center, Wilkin said.

The study rooms will likely be spread across many other libraries on campus, such as the Funk ACES library, the Grainger library, and the main library itself.

“All services will be fully integrated and there will be places for students when they come back in the fall,” said Wilkin.

The distribution of the Undergrad Library’s services will be a major focus for input today.

“We do this with the intent to get feedback from individuals who can help us shape these services in the future and provide services that meet the needs of the community,” said Teper.

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