From The Daily Illini:
Despite not being the most eye-catching building on campus, the historic Main Library, constructed in the 1920’s, housed one of the University’s most prized assets: its collections of rare books and manuscripts — one of the largest in the world.
Yet, the vault that houses the University’s Rare Book and Manuscript Library “is at the end of its useful life,” according to John Wilkin, dean of Libraries and University librarian.
It’s no secret that the Main Library is in need of renovation.
Although the University Library proposed a project schedule in March 2020, which estimated project completion by 2026, Wilkin said that this timetable “is no longer possible” and that rebuilding and renovating the Main Library “will be scheduled some time in the future.”
According to Wilkin, as it stands now, the University Library plans to first convert the UGL [Undergraduate Library] into a special collections facility, then demolish the old stacks of the Main Library and construct a new infill to it for undergraduate services, and then renovate other portions of the Main Library, before finally constructing a roof over the UGL courtyard.
However, much of when these stages will occur is dependent on whether and when the University Library will secure the funding to proceed.
While the University Library has secured around $46.8 million for the UGL conversion, around 90% of needed funding, they have yet to do so for the remaining stages, Wilkin noted.