A Visit to the Regenstein Library

University of Chicago's Regenstein Library

On March 17, 2015, several CARA members were invited to tour the Special Collections Research Center at the University of Chicago's Regenstein Library. We were hosted by Patricia Gibbons, Head of Collections Management. The highlight of the tour was the chance to see the high-density underground storage space in the Mansueto Library.

Dome of Mansueto Library. Photo by Kathleen Gormley.

Opened in 2011, the Mansueto Library "includes cutting-edge facilities for research, digitization of printed materials, and preservation of library holdings" (source). Underneath the library, books and archival material are stored in 50-foot tall racks and are "paged" by an automated storage and retrieval system (ASRS).

Mansueto Library's underground high-density storage with 50-foot tall racks containing metal bins holding books and archival material. When items are requested, the yellow crane of the ASRS pulls the bins out and lifts them up to the receiving area.
Photo by Kathleen Gormley.

Seeing the ASRS in action felt almost like being in a sci-fi movie--the future of archives is now!

Special thanks to Newland Smith of the Archives of the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago for arranging the tour.