Lilly Library Renovation Update


The following email was sent by the Provost’s Office to all Duke University faculty on May 8, 2024.

Dear Colleagues,

I’m writing with important updates about the Lilly Library renovation and expansion project on East Campus. As of Sunday, May 5, Lilly is now closed for the next 18-24 months while the renovation gets under way.

To help you prepare for the summer and beyond, I want to share the latest information about our services and collections.

  • Books and other materials that have been housed in Lilly will be temporarily unavailable while they are being moved. However, you may still request any materials you need through our Interlibrary Request system, and we will do our best to get them for you quickly.
  • DVDs and selected art titles will move to Perkins & Bostock Libraries over the summer.
  • Between now and August 1, you may pick up and return books at the Music Library on East Campus or Perkins & Bostock Libraries on West Campus.
  • In May, Lilly staff will relocate to the Bishop’s House, behind Bassett Residence Hall on East Campus. The Bishop’s House will be closed to the public while we move in. For assistance during this period, don’t hesitate to contact us.
  • Starting August 1, you will be able to visit Lilly staff at the Bishop’s House, where you may:

– Pick up holds
– Return books
– Place materials on reserves for your classes
– Scan and print
– Meet with Lilly librarians and staff

Thank you for your patience during this much-needed and long overdue renovation. We apologize for any inconvenience, but we think you’ll agree that the new and improved Lilly Library will be worth the wait. To find out more about the renovation and stay up-to-date on our progress, visit the Lilly Project blog.

If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Sincerely,

Joseph A. Salem, Jr.
Rita DiGiallonardo Holloway University Librarian and Vice Provost for Library Affairs

The Fascinating History of Bishop’s House–Future Home for Lilly Library Staff Offices

Exterior View of Bishop’s House, Duke University Archives Photograph Collection

During Lilly Library’s closure for renovations, staff will operate out of Bishop’s House on 201 East Campus Union Drive. Starting in August, patrons will be able to pick up and return books and meet with relevant subject librarians. In addition to limited hours, space for studying and use of technology will be limited. Though hours will be reduced, patrons will be able to pick up and return books and meet with relevant subject librarians. More details will be coming soon and can be found at:  https://blogs.library.duke.edu/lilly-project/.

Used as a residence, a woman’s dormitory, a men’s dormitory, a faculty club house, and an infirmary, Bishop’s House was completed in the spring of 1911, when central heating was considered more of a luxury rather than a necessity. The historic house served as the residence of former Trinity College president, John C. Kilgo, who lived there from July 1911 to June 1915. After stepping down as president in 1910, he was elected Bishop in the Methodist Episcopal Church, South.

Woman’s College Infirmary, Durham Herald, 1938

From the fall of 1915 until the fall of 1918, Bishop’s House was used as a women’s dormitory. Afterwards it was occupied by single faculty men until the fall of 1920. Dr. Bert Cunningham and family resided on the first floor and law students lived on the second floor, between 1920-1921. The building was then turned over to the Faculty Club for use as a club house and residence for men in the spring of 1922 until the spring of 1935, when it was extensively remodeled and reopened as the Woman’s College Infirmary. In 1962, the Duke University Press moved into the building, remaining there until 1983. In the twenty-first century, Duke Continuing Studies relocated their administrative offices to Bishop’s House. Duke Continuing Studies offered courses from yoga and improv comedy to history and wine tasting, and were open to both Duke students and the Durham public. During Covid 19, Duke Continuing Studies left Bishop’s House to work remotely and later decided to permanently work remotely and not return to their old offices.

The interior of Bishop’s house still displays many of the charming original features from when it was first built in 1911, such as the wraparound porch and fireplaces throughout the building.

Two Library Dates to Remember This Spring

Aerial view of Lilly Library on Duke's East Campus.


The following email was sent by the Provost’s Office to all Duke University faculty on February 28, 2024.

Dear Colleagues,

I’m writing to notify you about some important developments in the Duke University Libraries, explain how they may affect you, and share information that will help minimize any disruptions to your teaching and research. For simplicity’s sake, you just have to remember two key dates.

April 1

This is the last date to submit library purchase requests this semester (ordinarily accepted through May). If you need us to purchase any materials for upcoming classes or research, particularly this summer, please let us know by April 1. Requests received after April 1 will not be processed until July. *

Why the change? We’re sunsetting an important back-end system our staff use to handle everything from checking out books to managing thousands of databases, online resources, and acquisitions. Although you’ll hardly notice any difference on your end, it will take us some weeks to fully deploy the new system, requiring a temporary pause on new orders.

What can you do? Let your subject librarian know of any purchase requests you have by Monday, April 1.

May 4

This is the last day of final exams. After finals end, Lilly Library on Duke’s East Campus will close for a long-planned renovation and expansion. Construction work will begin this summer and is expected to last two years, during which time Lilly will be closed and all staff and onsite materials will be relocated.

While Lilly’s closure is necessary, it will inevitably inconvenience some people and reduce the level of library services available to students and faculty on East Campus.

What do you need to know?

  • Lilly Library will close for renovation after the last day of final exams, Saturday, May 4.
  • In preparation, Lilly collections are already being moved to other locations. If you visit Lilly this semester, you may notice some empty shelves. Some materials are moving to Perkins and Bostock Libraries, while others are being relocated to offsite storage. Library staff are working hard to ensure that as much of Lilly’s collection as possible remains accessible throughout the renovation.
  • Books and other materials currently housed in Lilly will be temporarily unavailable while they are being moved.
  • During the renovation, Lilly’s staff will be relocated to Bishop’s House behind Bassett Residence Hall (formerly home to Duke Continuing Studies). Bishop’s House will serve as a temporary location for library services on East Campus (holds and reserves, check out, printing, scanning, etc.).
  • We will continue to deliver library materials to faculty offices on East Campus during the regular academic year, as usual. However, expect delays and disruption during May and June 2024, while we finish moving collections.

What can you do?

  • If there are any Lilly materials you may need for teaching or research, check them out now, or request to have the parts you need scanned before they become inaccessible.
  • During the renovation, visit our temporary location at Bishop’s House for library assistance.
  • Don’t forget Interlibrary Loan: Duke users can draw from a combined library collection of 90 million books and other materials from our peer institutions quickly and easily.
  • Visit the Lilly Project website to learn more about the renovation, see renderings and FAQs, and find out more.

As you might imagine, an undertaking of this size requires intensive effort by many staff across the library organization. We appreciate your understanding and flexibility as we get started on this long overdue and badly needed building transformation that promises to dramatically improve the student experience at Duke for generations to come.

If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Joseph A. Salem, Jr.
Rita DiGiallonardo Holloway University Librarian and Vice Provost for Library Affairs


We will work to fulfill requests received after April 1 through our partners and interlibrary loan where we can.