About the Rubenstein Library Renovation

Rendering of Rubenstein Library Exterior

The final phase of the Perkins Project is slated to began in late 2012 and focuses on the original 1928 West Campus library building and its 1948 addition (including the iconic Gothic Reading Room and Mary Duke Biddle Rare Book Room), which together comprise the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.

This portion of the West Campus library complex is at the very heart of the campus designed by the Horace Trumbauer architectural firm and is emblematic of the character of the West Quad and Duke University.  The cornerstone for the university is visible at the foot of the library tower. Situated at the intersection of the West Campus quadrangles, it is easily accessible to scholars, students, and visitors. As the home of the Rubenstein Library, it is also central to the teaching and research mission of Duke University.

The renovation will increase the research, instruction, storage, and exhibition capabilities of the Rubenstein Library. It will also address the need for state-of-the-art stacks with high-tech security and a closely-monitored environment. A new special collections reading room will accommodate more people than the current space, and it will offer researchers more elbow-room per person. There will also be designated spaces for collaborative research.

Updates will also extend to the Mary Duke Biddle Rare Book Room and the Gothic Reading Room. The charm and character of these signature Duke spaces will be preserved, but their finishes, furnishings, lighting, technology infrastructure, and exhibition facilities will be enhanced.

Finally, the library’s main entrance will be redesigned with new doors, windows, and lighting to give the entire library complex a more unified and welcoming presence on the historic West Quad.

To accomplish this vision, the Libraries are working with architectural firm Shepley Bulfinch, who also designed the much-loved Bostock Library and von der Heyden Pavilion, as well as the highly successful renovation of Perkins Library.

Construction work began in late 2012 and continue through summer of 2015. When the renovation is complete, the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library will provide a striking culmination to the Perkins Project.

More Renovation Information

The Final Phase of the Perkins Project