Archives and Special Collections Facility Approved by the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois

Today, the Board of Trustees at the University of Illinois approved the first phase of the University Library’s building project. 

Phase One of the building project will transform the current Undergraduate Library building into a facility that will house the University Archives, the Illinois History and Lincoln Collections, and The Rare Book & Manuscript Library. Between campus support, fundraising, and internal allocations, the entirety of the $50M in funding has been secured for construction. The first phase is expected to be completed in 2024.

“A new archives and special collections building gives us a solid footing for our most extraordinary treasures and positions us to build the next generation of services for our students,” said University of Illinois System President Tim Killeen. 

“This is an important and exciting step in our university’s ability to support scholars and students,” said University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Chancellor Robert J. Jones. “Moving forward with this facility really allows us to do what is necessary to ensure irreplaceable rare and archival materials will be available and accessible for scholarship and research for generations to come.” 

“We’re excited about our ability to better meet the needs of the University by the creation of this beautiful facility supporting the use and care of our rare and archival materials.  I appreciate all of the campus feedback we’ve received through town halls and public forums, which have helped us shape this strategy,” said John P. Wilkin, the Juanita J. and Robert E. Simpson Dean of Libraries and University Librarian. “I also want to thank the many donors and the university for their support.” 

The Undergraduate Library will remain open through the end of the Spring 2022 semester. Services for undergraduate students will be integrated into the Main Library, Grainger Engineering Library Information Center, Funk ACES Library, and other units around campus by the start of classes in Fall 2022. 

The design of the new archives and special collections building is being jointly led by Champaign-based RATIO Architects and Boston-based Shepley Bulfinch. 

Future stages of the project will culminate in the redevelopment of the 100-year old Main Library Building as a rich hub of research and learning for the University’s community of humanities and social sciences scholars.