University Library Announces Plans for a Library of the Future: Main Library Renovations Proposed

Aerial View of Main Library
The highlighted area in this aerial view of the Main Library represents the space envisioned for a new research hub.

The University Library has announced plans to re-design the Main Library. The proposal involves the re-envisioning of Library spaces, including the creation of a new research hub focused on a substantial library collection with lecture rooms, collaboration space, and services to enrich the learning experience of students, along with a dedicated home for the Library’s special collections.

Renovating the Main Library Building has been on the University’s list of capital projects for the last decade. The oldest portion of the Main Library stacks, currently an inadequate environment for storing printed books and journals, will be replaced with an interdisciplinary research collaboration space that will leverage onsite browsable library collections focused on the humanities, the arts, and the social and behavioral sciences. This new space will also house many of the services and activities found in the Undergraduate Library, and envisions a unification and enhancement of services for all students currently located across the two facilities. The Undergraduate Library building will then become a unified destination for many of the Library’s special collections, now housed in various venues around campus.

“Now is the time to move forward with a new model of the research library,” said John P. Wilkin, dean of libraries and university librarian. “Our outstanding collections have been a boon to research and Illinois, and with this plan, we can better support interdisciplinary research in the humanities and social sciences.”

The proposal will be developed further over the next year through discussions with campus and community stakeholders resulting in a conceptual plan for the space. A recent feasibility study estimates the Main Library renovation costs will come in under the $54 million state capital request. Several private gifts have already been secured in support of the project. The Library expects a completion date of 2024.

More information will be shared via a dedicated project website at