News & Events

Building Project Update

As anyone knows who has handled a major renovation, the devil is in the details. And those details are being vigorously hammered into shape as the Library moves ahead in reimagining its future. In working toward that goal—a collections-centered research hub for the humanities and social sciences, and a home for special collections in what is now the Undergraduate Library—significant strides have been made over the last several months through in-depth talks with professional firms, campus colleagues, and in-house personnel.

At this stage, “the framework of the Main Library conceptualization is clear,” according to Dean John Wilkin, who expects that by early fall, similar progress regarding the special collections research center will be on the cusp of finalization. In addition, the Library Consultation Working Group—a campus-wide faculty committee that provides strategic insight into the project—will conclude its work at the end of October.

Other developments involved:

  • Three days of on-site visioning activities in May, led by the two consulting firms tasked with the building project (JLK Architects and brightspot strategy); meetings focused on the Main Library structure led to a report with options of conceptual plans
  • Dennis Craig assigned as project coordinator from University of Illinois Facilities & Services; Craig also serves as the Campus Historic Preservation Officer
  • Ongoing discussions with various internal Library committees, as well as faculty and groups from the wider campus

“The conceptual models developed through all of these activities were shared broadly,” Wilkin said, “and we are now converging on a final one that will be married to the developing plans for the Special Collections building.”

All along the way, the project—which looks to a 2024 completion date—has sought extensive input and feedback as architectural plans solidify. “I remain gratified,” Wilkin said, “in seeing a clear plan emerge from such broad and inclusive discussions.”

For more information and continued updates, please visit the Building Project website at

Do you have a story you'd like added to the Library News & Events? If so, please let us know:

Submit a Story