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lillylibrary.jpg Indiana University
Renovation of the Lilly Library at Indiana University is scheduled to begin later this year.

$10.9 million grant will help pay for renovation of a Indiana University library

The grant from the Lilly Foundation will enable the university to upgrade the 60-year-old Lilly Library on the school's Bloomington campus.

The Indiana University Foundation has received a $10.9 million grant to help renovate the Lilly Library on the school's Bloomington campus.

The university says that the Lilly Endowment Inc. awarded the grant. One of the endowment's founders, Josiah K. Lilly Jr., established the library in 1960 to house his extensive private library.

The library has not had any significant interior renovation since its completion nearly 60 years ago.

"Indiana University's Lilly Library is a state, national and international treasure, and a testament to the vision and generosity of J.K. Lilly Jr.," University President Michael A. McRobbie says. "It has always been universally acclaimed for its unique, world-class collections. Its vibrant and stunning materials continue to astonish all those who use them.

The Lilly Library now contains more than 450,000 rare books, 8.5 million manuscripts and 150,000 sheets of music. The limestone building is in the heart of IU Bloomington's Fine Arts Plaza, the campus's center for the arts and humanities.

Growth in collection size and student enrollment, along with the increasing demands of scholars and students to use the library's collections, have resulted in a level of activity that the building can no longer sustain.

The grant will enable the university to carry out significant improvements to the 52,516-square-foot library. The renovation will upgrade mechanical systems and lighting, technological equipment, fire protection and security systems, accessibility, building navigation, and space configuration.

The improvements will enable students, scholars, researchers, educators and other visitors to more effectively gain access to the library's materials.

According to Lilly Library director Joel Silver, courses taught on site have increased by more than 225 percent since 1992. In 1960, the Lilly Library's total collection numbered about 100,000 rare books and 1 million manuscripts. Today, the book collection has increased 350 percent, and the manuscript collection has grown 750 percent.

Among the Lilly Library's most famous materials are the Gutenberg New Testament; the first printed edition of "The Canterbury Tales"; many beautifully illuminated medieval books of hours; the Boxer Codex, a unique 16th-century manuscript depiction of the people of the Philippines and Far East; and the personal archives of cultural figures such as Orson Welles, Sylvia Plath, Kurt Vonnegut Jr. and Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o.

The renovation is expected to begin late this year. The library facility is expected to be closed for about 18 months.


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