The Joe and Rika Mansueto Library, opening next week, is designed to accommodate the way people study and research today — online. The structure’s large spaces are made for computer work and have no traditional bookshelves.
Instead, the library boasts a massive underground storage area holding 3.5 million volumes on 50-foot-high shelves. The collection is managed by robotic systems that help create an environment where scholars can scour the web for hours for academic papers and still get a hard-to-find volume from the stacks.
As more books and journals become easily accessible online, it’s easy to wonder if brick-and-mortar libraries could go the way of the video store. But research at the university has shown that the more people look to digital resources, the more they consult physical materials as well, according to Judith Nadler, director of the University of Chicago Library.
“For scholars, the two formats complement each other, opening the door to a new era in research — and new libraries designed to make the best use of print and digital options,” Nadler said in a message e-mailed to Wired.com announcing the library’s upcoming opening.
Watch the Video: “The Joe and Rika Mansueto Library: How It Works”