January 22, 2022

Indiana University Rededicates Lilly Library, Unveils Reading Room Murals

From Indiana University:

An exterior view of the Lilly Library

The renovations to the Lilly Library will meet modern scholarly needs. Photo by Chaz Mottinger, Indiana University

Indiana University’s Lilly Library, home to significant rare-book collections and literary artifacts, will reopen in August after wrapping up a full-scale renovation that reimagined the iconic facility’s interior to meet the needs of modern scholars.

Indiana University President Michael A. McRobbie rededicated the internationally renowned Lilly Library to service in the university’s third century, noting its role as a center for scholarship long responsible for enhancing the reputation of IU. The renovation was made possible by grants from Lilly Endowment Inc.


As the Lilly Library approached its 60th anniversary, it became clear that increased interest, use and appreciation of its ever-increasing collections of rare books, manuscripts and literary artifacts required upgrades and reconfiguration of its 52,516-square-foot limestone building on Indiana University’s Fine Arts Plaza.


As the library reopens in August, visitors will be greeted by elegant, modernized public galleries designed by national experts in library and museum display. Infrastructure modernization includes the building’s first public elevator. Additional seminar rooms, a new lecture hall and technology adaptations throughout the library support classroom instruction, faculty conferences and visiting scholar lectures.

The Lilly Library now holds more than 450,000 rare books, 8.5 million manuscripts, the world’s largest collection of mechanical puzzles and 150,000 pieces of sheet music. Lilly Library staff and professional library movers are now halfway through moving these important collections back into the building.

The library will remain closed through Aug. 2, when the public galleries will open and present the retrospective exhibition titled, “The Eye, the Mind, and the Imagination: The Collectors of the Lilly Library.” The Reading Room will open a few weeks later; appointments are required.

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About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.