The University of Virginia was conceived with a library at its heart, housed in the Rotunda at the head of the Academical Village. While the collection relocated to its own building in 1938, today, the mission of the UVA Library remains the same: to provide access to accumulated knowledge, and in so doing, increase it. The main library is now undergoing significant renovation once again, bringing it up to current standards of safety, accessibility, and service. This renovation will restore the facility’s status as a contemporary library with modern amenities suited to the needs of the University community.
Requiring extensive overhaul, the University’s main library closed for renovation in March 2020. The renovation will update the library’s historic envelope—including the main lobby, study rooms, and the McGregor Room—and result in five floors of new mixed-use space, with ample capacity for book storage, research, and study. Upgraded facilities for preservation and conservation will ensure that the collection is well-cared-for and accessible for years to come.
New construction on the building’s north side will welcome visitors, with an entrance from University Avenue and both a new lobby and a two-level reading room. Light from clerestory windows will brighten the fifth- and fourth-floor reading spaces and stacks, and the existing lightwells will be transformed into skylight-enclosed study courtyards.
Upgrades to infrastructure and HVAC, improved lighting, and better utilization of space will create a much-improved environment for both the library’s users and its collections. Addressing safety and accessibility concerns, adding new entrances, and improving wayfinding will help make the building more welcoming and inclusive. The main library is slated to reopen in 2023.
In addition to the renovation, the Library is committed to building, preserving, and enhancing its collections, which are integral to the educational experience and vital to the University’s goal of fostering discovery in support of inquiry and scholarship. We are also dedicated to increasing access and affordability, ensuring that our collections, spaces, and services are available to all.