What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear “the Reg”? For those unfamiliar with UChicago’s campus, it might just sound like an abbreviation for “regular.” But when UChicago students think of the Joseph Regenstein Library—or “the Reg” as we like to call it—we think of late-night study sessions, hanging out with friends in the cafe, or taking naps on the couches. Behind its Brutalist walls, the Reg has a ton of resources for UChicago students to take advantage of.
The Reg is one of six locations on campus that make up the University of Chicago Library. Located at the heart of the UChicago campus, the Reg is popular among students and faculty alike, as it provides rapid access to collections, research and study spaces, and diverse services.
So, what exactly can you find in the Reg? Well, the first is a no-brainer: books! The Reg is home to over 4.5 million print volumes focusing on subjects in the humanities and social sciences, as well as business, divinity, and area studies. Many can be found in the stacks, located on the 2nd to 5th floors, which you’re free to browse through daily. The deeper you go, the quieter it is, so the stacks are also a nice study spot for those who are on a real grind.
But textbooks aren’t the only things sitting on the shelves. That’s right, the library has tons of books for casual reading as well, from Lord of the Rings to the entire Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, and even movies if you look hard enough. Well, I guess you can access pretty much everything online now, but it’s still cool to see how many DVDs the Library has collected over the years. (Also, on very rare occasions, one might even see an iguana crawling through the tight spaces being chased by snakes!)
Due to the Reg’s overflowing collection, however, most materials are located in the Joe and Rika Mansueto Library, affectionately dubbed “The Egg” due to its huge glass-domed reading room. Beneath it, however, is where the true magic lies—an automated storage and retrieval system stretching fifty feet underground, featuring robotic cranes that will bring your requested book up from below ASAP. The process takes less than five minutes, so if you’re sitting in the Reg and request a book through the Library webpage, it’ll likely be waiting for you to pick up by the time you walk over to Mansueto. Pretty cool, right?
As for study spots, the Reg is a favorite among students for its spacious reading rooms and quiet seating areas located on each floor. But what if you’re looking for a more private place to discuss readings with classmates, or need some huge whiteboards to write out all your math problems? Well, that’s exactly what the countless study rooms scattered throughout the building are for! You can easily make a reservation for one on the Library webpage; this way, you don’t have to worry about being too distracting or not having enough space to work. These rooms can also be used for RSO meetings or whatever other important academic gatherings you have—just don’t forget to clean up after yourself!
One thing that may not be immediately obvious about the Library in general is its online Database Finder. As a student of the University, you have immediate access to over a thousand databases, including JSTOR and PubMed and many other sites you might have once been restricted from viewing in high school. The Database Finder is incredibly convenient to use, allowing you to filter by subject or source type, and even has an extensive help guide if you ever get confused. This is one of several Research Guides that the Library provides, which is super helpful if you ever need to find materials on a specific topic.
The TechBar is also located on the first floor of the Reg for all your tech support needs. You can ask them for help on just about anything, from connecting to the Wi-Fi, to deeper IT topics like 3D visualization, sound editing, or a special design project. They also offer free equipment lending! You can borrow PC and Macintosh laptops, iPads, and multimedia equipment, including digital cameras, as well as cables and video and power adapters. Most equipment is available for eight hours, which is really convenient if you need something for a last-minute project or presentation.
Of course, we can’t go without mentioning one of the most popular coffeeshops on campus. Ex Libris is a student-run cafe tucked away in the corner of the first floor of the Reg, a lively place constantly filled with people hanging out with friends or grabbing a study-break snack. The menu includes fresh sandwiches, salads, sushi, donuts, cookies, muffins… really, you can find just about anything to satisfy your hunger there. The full coffee and espresso bar with a loose-leaf tea service is definitely the highlight of the entire place—with friendly baristas and their occasional specialty drinks, it’s no wonder so many students enjoy hanging out here.
I could honestly go on about the Reg for way longer, there’s so much to talk about. But I think this is a pretty good overview of some of the useful things you can find in this beloved library. And, as you can see, there’s nothing “reg”-ular about it!