Virtual Tour: Perkins Library, Duke University

Uploaded by DukeUnivLibraries on 08.05.2009

Duke's Perkins Library complex includes five buildings at the heart of the West Campus.
The University cornerstone is visible on the façade of the original 1928 library building, known then as the General Library.
The Gothic Reading Room on the second floor is one of the most iconic spaces on campus,
the source of inspiration for generations of students.
Alumnus William Styron, reflecting on the hours he spent studying in the Gothic said,
"The library became my hangout, my private club, my sanctuary."
A 1948 addition to the General Library included the Biddle Rare Book Room
which serves as a popular venue for concerts, lectures, and other campus events.
The 1928 and 1948 buildings are home to the Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library.
Its distinctive general collections are augmented by the holdings of the University Archives and several research centers.
These include the Archive of Documentary Arts,
whose collections are displayed in the Special Collections Library's first floor gallery.
Adjoining the 1948 building is the 1968 addition,
which increased Duke's library facilities by 180,000 square feet of space on six floors.
The opening of the 1968 building was a noteworthy achievement for the University,
but by the late 1990s it was clear that the building did not support new trends in library use or services
or accommodate the technological infrastructure required by a 21st century academic library.
A complete transformation of the 1968 building between 2006 and 2008 created light-filled reading areas,
group study rooms,
an information commons with workstations equipped with both research and productivity software,
and ubiquitous wireless and high-speed Internet access throughout the building.
"Save time, ask us" is the motto of the Duke librarians who work with students at the reference desk on the first floor of Perkins
and via email, chat reference, and IM.
Chat reference assistance and IM are accessible from the library website, which records 17,000 visits daily.
Librarians meet by appointment with students for individual research consultations.
The Link, a new teaching and learning center on Lower Level 1 of Perkins,
immediately dazzles everyone who enters the 24,000 sq. ft. space.
Floor to ceiling windows, brightly colored accent walls,
and sleek contemporary furnishings
create a dynamic environment for the flexible teaching spaces, learning tools,
and technology services that the Link offers students and faculty.
The Duke community has responded with enthusiasm to the changes at Perkins.
The library's value to the campus as a "destination" is reflected in the number of people who come to Perkins:
a projected 2 million in 2009, up from 636,000 in 2007.
These numbers don't even include visitors to two of the Perkins Library complex's most popular buildings:
the Bostock Library
and the von der Heyden Pavilion.
Bostock and the Pavilion, both adjoining Perkins, were instant hits when they opened in 2005.
Almost immediately, "Bostock" appeared in the names of 17 Facebook groups.
Bostock houses part of the library's collections,
but its greatest attractions are its many carrels and study areas that are bathed in natural light
and its beautiful reading rooms, all with stunning views of the campus.
The Nicholas Family International Reading Room is intimate and wood-paneled.
The Carpenter Reading Room inspires with its soaring two-story windows.
The Sperling Reading Room offers a panorama of the campus through sets of windows that look out onto the Chapel
and toward the science and engineering buildings.
The library's von der Heyden Pavilion has become a regular destination for the entire Duke community.
University staff, faculty and students come to meet for conversation, study, and relaxation
or for refreshment at the Perk, the library's coffee bar.
In the words of one faculty member, "The von der Heyden Pavilion is something like a café on a French boulevard.
I use it as a place to be available to my students several mornings a week."
Most people who visit the Pavilion enter the space through the Perkins Library Gallery.
Exhibits in the Gallery reflect the scholarly, historic, social, and cultural concerns of the University.
The transformation of the libraries has also transformed West Campus.
The gateway between Perkins and Bostock has connected the social sciences and humanities departments on the quad
and the science and engineering buildings on Science and Research Drives, unifying the campus.
And connecting people and ideas—which is the mission of the Duke Libraries.
Students say that what they love best about the library is the sense of community they feel here.
In the words of one undergraduate,
"The collaborative energy and spirit of Duke are more visible here in the library than anywhere else on campus."