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Libraries and Museums

Students and visitors explore the Smart Museum of Art in Hyde Park.
Students and visitors explore the Smart Museum of Art in Hyde Park.

The University of Chicago Library has six locations on campus, holding over 11 million printed and electronic volumes. The University Library also has borrowing privileges with several other archives, museums, and libraries in the area, including the Art Institute of Chicago Library, the Chicago History MuseumFermilab, the Field Museum of Natural History, and the Newberry Library.

The University’s three museums are also noteworthy for their archival resources and opportunities for students to be involved in curating exhibitions, acting as docents, and archiving materials.

The Joseph Regenstein Library

Located just to the north of the main campus, the Regenstein Library, affectionately called “the Reg,” is the busiest and most action-packed of our six libraries. Students spend their time searching for books in the seven floors of stacks or picking up reserve books for classes from the circulation desk. The Reg also hosts classes and study groups in the sectioned-off group study spaces on the A-level, famed for staying open all night. The first floor is home to Ex Libris, one of many student-run coffee shops.

Joe and Rika Mansueto Library

Scholars around the world recognize the significance of the University of Chicago Library, both as a repository of knowledge and as a working laboratory for training present and future generations of scholars. Living up to this dual mission, the University of Chicago Library is the only top research library in North America that is acting to keep its entire collection on campus for the next 20 years. By building the Joe and Rika Mansueto Library, the University of Chicago challenges the all-too-common belief that great collections of books are becoming obsolete. We believe, instead, that scholarship will thrive in an environment where print and electronic coexist, now and in the future.

The Joe and Rika Mansueto Library is designed to take full advantage of technology to continue to provide elite service to the scholarly community. High-density automated shelving systems arrange materials underground by size rather than library classification, in racks 50 feet high, with a capacity to hold 3.5 million volumes in one-seventh of the space of conventional shelves. The multimillion volume installation frees shelves in the Joseph Regenstein, John Crerar, and D’Angelo Law libraries for materials that faculty, visiting scholars, and students want to discover by serendipitous browsing. The University of Chicago Library’s collection of immense scholarly value is housed, preserved, and delivered in a state-of-the-art environment at the heart of campus.

John Crerar Library

Crerar is home to all science journals and books in biology and physics. It anchors the Science Quad just to the west of the Main Quads, shared with the physics and geophysical sciences buildings and the Gordon Center for Integrative Science. Students pass by the big dinosaur skeleton in the foyer on their way to the group study rooms, study carrels, and reading tables found on each floor.

William Rainey Harper Memorial Library

Home to a beautiful reading room available 24 hours, the Arley D. Cathey Learning Center in Harper Library features work tables, comfortable armchairs, and a cafe. Many students will recognize the Gothic walls and sconces from our postcards and publications—it exemplifies the Life of the Mind perhaps better than any other location on campus.

D’Angelo Law Library

The undergraduates who frequent the newly renovated D’Angelo Law Library mainly live in the adjacent Burton-Judson Courts and Renee Granville-Grossman Residential Commons (formerly South Campus residence hall) and use the underground walkway between the buildings.

Eckhart Library

Located on the second floor of Eckhart, the math building, Eckhart Library is easily our smallest and most adorable library. The steep metal stairs and closely-hovering second floor remind students of studying in a submarine. It contains mathematical journals and texts, as well as books on computer science and statistics.

Harper Memorial Library
Harper Memorial Library

Oriental Institute Museum

The Oriental Institute Museum, long recognized as a pioneer in the archeology and history of the ancient Near East, holds an impressive collection of Near Eastern artifacts and the largest collection of Egyptian art and artifacts outside of Egypt.

Smart Museum of Art

The Smart Museum of Art is a small but striking collection curated by students and faculty. Its permanent collection spans five millennia, and the regular exhibits bring art and artifacts from all over the world to campus.

Renaissance Society

Renaissance Society is a world-renowned modern art gallery providing free exhibitions and performances.