This fall, the University of Chicago’s Joseph Regenstein Library welcomes the UChicago community to join a yearlong celebration of its 50th anniversary.
Since its dedication on Oct. 31, 1970, the library has been a hub of innovation and inquiry on campus and a symbol of the University’s scholarly eminence. The massive, brutalist structure known by many as “The Reg” serves not only as a center for rigorous research but also as a space for student life and learning.
“Over the last 50 years, Regenstein Library has contributed and responded to tremendous shifts in the ways knowledge is expanded and shared, scholarly disciplines are shaped, students are transformed and intellectual communities are convened and strengthened,” said Brenda Johnson, Library Director and University Librarian. “As we mark its 50th anniversary, we will not only celebrate decades of contributions, but discuss innovative new ways of connecting researchers and supporting their intellectual pursuits.”
The UChicago Library will host a series of online events this academic year to discuss the past, present, and future of Regenstein. The first is a Sept. 22 online conversation between John W. Boyer, dean of the College, and Anne Walters Robertson, dean of the Division of the Humanities, about how Regenstein Library ushered in a new era of scholarly distinction for UChicago.
An enduring—and evolving—hub of innovation
Built on the former site of Stagg Field, where Enrico Fermi and other scientists achieved the first controlled, self-sustaining nuclear reaction in 1942, the library was conceived amid a period of “heady optimism” at the University, Boyer wrote in The University of Chicago: A History. According to Boyer, the library was the cornerstone of then-Provost Edward H. Levi’s plan to invest in new capital improvements in the late 1960s.