Category Archives: Perkins Project

Beyond the Blue Fence: Finishing Rubenstein

The construction fence surrounding Rubenstein Library.

Although the inside of Rubenstein Library is now fully renovated and open for use, you may have noticed that, outside, construction vehicles and fencing linger on.

In case you’re wondering, the blue fence around Rubenstein Library is hiding a new landscaping project that will take place over the next few months. Workers will be replacing the topsoil, installing irrigation measures, planting new trees and shrubs, and hardscaping. The whole project is scheduled to be complete by December 31, 2015.

The corner entrance to Rubenstein will be open after December 31.

In the meantime, the corner entrance to Rubenstein will remain closed so that work vehicles can move back and forth without affecting pedestrians. (You can still see the gorgeous vaulted interior behind that door if you enter through the main library entrance, walk through the Photography Gallery, and hang a left).

Come December, the fences will be down, plantings will be in place, and the public will be free to use BOTH library entrances. Thanks for being patient while we put the finishing touches on Duke’s latest point of pride!

You’re Invited! Rubenstein Library Open House, Sept. 10

RL Open House Banner Welcome 600x360

Thursday, September 10
2:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Rubenstein Library, Floors 1-3 

Remarks at 2:30 p.m. in the Gothic Reading Room
by Deborah Jakubs, Rita DiGiallonardo Holloway University Librarian
and Vice Provost for Library Affairs


After almost three years under construction, the renovated David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library is officially open.

Help us celebrate the transformation of a library that is truly one of the crown jewels of Duke by joining us for a special open house for the entire Duke and Triangle-area community on Thursday, September 10, from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m.

  • Tour the new spaces and exhibits.
  • Meet and mingle with library staff.
  • Learn how the Rubenstein Library can support your research.
  • Free giveaways and light refreshments.
  • Free and open to the public.

Visitor Parking Information: Free parking will be available at Parking Garage IV (click for map), next to the Bryan Center, for visitors traveling to the open house from off-campus. Take a ticket when you enter the parking deck. When you exit, inform the parking booth attendant that you were visiting the Rubenstein Library Open House. The attendant will take your ticket and allow you to exit at no cost.

Additional visitor parking information is available on Duke’s Parking and Transportation website.

 Things to See

More Opening Events and Exhibits

We’re lining up a number of events and exhibits to celebrate the opening of the Rubenstein Library throughout the fall of 2015. Check out our opening events site for a complete listing and stay tuned for regular updates.

About the Rubenstein Library Renovation

The construction crane looms over a gutted Rubenstein Library stack core, December 2013.
The construction crane looms over a gutted Rubenstein Library stack core, December 2013. See our Flickr album of renovation images for more.

The renovation of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, housed in Duke’s original West Campus library building, is the final phase of the Perkins Project, a 15-year-long effort to renovate and re-imagine Duke’s West Campus library complex that started back in 2000. (Read more about the history of the Perkins Project on our renovation website.)

Construction work on the Rubenstein began in late 2012, and the building will officially open to the public on August 24, 2015.

The 1948 library tower under scaffolding, August 2014. See our Flickr gallery of renovation photos for more.
The 1948 library tower under scaffolding, August 2014.

The Rubenstein renovation has transformed one of the university’s oldest and most recognizable buildings into a state-of-the-art research facility where students, faculty, and visitors can engage with the Libraries’ collection of rare and unique scholarly materials.

The research, instruction, storage, and exhibition capabilities of the Rubenstein Library have all been greatly increased. The new library also features state-of-the-art closed stacks with high-tech security and a closely-monitored environment.

Workers re-hang portraits of historic Duke luminaries in the renovated Gothic Reading Room, July 2015.
Workers re-hang portraits of historic Duke luminaries in the renovated Gothic Reading Room, July 2015.

Updates have also extended to the Mary Duke Biddle Room and the Gothic Reading Room. The charm and character of these signature Duke spaces has been preserved, but their finishes, furnishings, lighting, technology infrastructure, and exhibition facilities have all been enhanced.

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

Mark your calendars and join us 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. on September 10!



Noise Advisory: Research Commons Construction

Architectural rendering of the Research Commons on the first floor of Bostock Library. Renovations will take place May-November 2014.
Architectural rendering of the Research Commons on the first floor of Bostock Library. Renovations will take place May-November 2014.

Fire Alarm Testing: June 16 – August 4

Duke’s Facilities Management Department be reworking the fire alarm systems in both Perkins and Bostock Libraries to synchronize the two facilities. A fire alarm test will be performed each day, June 16-August 4, at 5:30 p.m. to ensure the facilities are protected during off-hours. The test will be short and patrons will not have to leave the building.


Research Commons Construction

The first floor of Bostock Library is being renovated this summer to prepare for the new Research Commons. For the next few weeks, library users are advised that there will be some noise associated with the work, especially affecting the floors directly above and below Bostock Level 1. Most of the noise will be limited between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. We apologize in advance for the inconvenience.

Free earplugs are available at the Perkins Library Service Desk on the first floor for library users who are bothered by the renovation noise. 

Here is a list of the work being done in the next two weeks:

1) Workers will begin roughing in electrical and telecomm wiring. This will involve drilling anchors into the ceiling on the first floor of Bostock: June 16-20
2) Core drilling the first floor slab: June 16-20
3) Attachment of lower track of walls with shot pins: June 20 – July 4


In order to make all members of the Duke community aware of the major activities and potential noise issues associated with the library renovations, we will be posting regular announcements of upcoming work on this blog. If you have questions, please contact Aaron Welborn, Director of Communications, at 919-660-5816, or

Library Renovation Update: Third Floor of Perkins to Close July 5

Over the next few months, library users and visitors will start to see some noticeable changes as we prepare for the upcoming renovation of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library. (For more background on the renovation, read this article from the Duke University Libraries Magazine. If you want the short version, check out this handy FAQ on the Rubenstein Library website.) 

Construction work will begin in earnest in 2013 and continue through summer 2015. In the meantime, the Libraries are working to relocate special collection materials, services, and personnel to the 3rd floor of Perkins Library, which will become the temporary headquarters of the Rubenstein Library throughout the renovation. The move will be implemented in phases so that library operations and services can be maintained throughout the project, and so that classes and researchers can continue to work with special collections materials without interruption.

Books and library materials on the 3rd floor of Perkins Library are being relocated to Lower Level 2 in preparation for the Rubenstein Library renovation.


Books Move Out, Rubenstein Moves In

The first of those implementation phases starts next week. On Monday, June 11, movers will begin shifting books from the 3rd floor of Perkins Library to Perkins Lower Level 2. That work is scheduled to be completed by July 1, and the 3rd floor of Perkins Library will close to the public on July 5, as construction workers begin upfitting the space for the Rubenstein Library’s staff and collections.

One important caveat: Access to the study carrels on the 3rd floor of Perkins will continue and should not be affected. If you have a study carrel on that floor, you will still be able to get to it.


Collections on the Move

Because of space limitations, some special collections materials and general circulating collections that were previously housed on-site in the library are being moved to the off-site Library Service Center. However, these materials will still be available to faculty, students, and researchers throughout the course of the renovation. Nothing will be out of your reach.

Books and materials in the general collection can be easily retrieved from the Library Service Center by requesting them through the online catalog. If you have never requested something from the LSC, here’s a quick video that shows you how. (It typically takes less than 24 hours, and you can have materials delivered to the Duke library of your choice.)

Circulating books and materials held at the Library Service Center can be requested through the online catalog and are typically delivered in less than 24 hours.

Researchers interested in using special collection materials are encouraged to contact the Rubenstein Library in advance of their visit, so that materials can be retrieved for them. (See the Rubenstein Library Renovation FAQ for more information on requesting special collection materials during the renovation.)

At this time, the Rubenstein Library’s reading room and current space is scheduled to close on December 17, 2012, and reopen after winter break on the 3rd floor of Perkins Library on January 6, 2013.


Stay Tuned for More Renovation Updates

If you want keep up with the progress of the Rubenstein Library renovation, we have plenty of ways to keep you informed.

You can check back here for regular updates, or follow the Rubenstein Library’s blog, The Devil’s Tale.

You can like the Duke University Libraries and the Rubenstein Library on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.

And you can check out photos of the renovation on our Flickr photostream.