Visitors to the Newberry can now get acquainted with the venerable research library and its staff in a brand-new welcome center, where librarians are available to register new users, provide orientations, and help guests embark on their intellectual journeys in the Newberry's reading rooms, exhibition galleries, and program spaces.
A centerpiece of the Newberry's $12.7 million first-floor renovation, the Victoria J. Herget Welcome Center serves a need the Newberry has long hoped to address: fostering a physical environment that more effectively reflects its identity as an educational institution that is free and open to the public.
With the opening of this new space, essential library activities are being migrated or extended to more accessible parts of the building. Previously, new users signed up for reading cards and learned how to use Newberry collections on the upper floors. The welcome center will be followed in September by the opening of a climate-controlled seminar room where visiting classes can engage directly with collection items; redesigned galleries for temporary, thematic exhibitions as well as a new permanent exhibition; and more flexible spaces for a variety of Newberry programs and private events.
Adjacent to the welcome center is the Newberry's Rosenberg Bookshop. Remodeled and expanded, the bookshop offers a wider selection of gifts, cards, and books inspired by the library's permanent collection. The shop remains proudly Newberry-run and will continue to be a reflection of its institutional home and local surroundings, sourcing titles from Newberry researchers and crafts from Chicago artisans.;
Award-winning Ann Beha Architects (ABA) designed the Newberry renovation. With extensive experience working with libraries, academic institutions, and cultural organizations, ABA is introducing new design elements into the Newberry building while preserving—and, in some cases, restoring—original architectural details.
"Our design celebrates the Newberry’s architectural heritage and supports its future vision,"said Ann Beha FAIA, Principal of ABA.