Open doors: First patrons explore the renovated main library

By Molly Minturn | January 10, 2024

Students, faculty, staff, and community members streamed into the University of Virginia’s newly renovated main library when its doors opened to the public at 9 a.m. sharp for the first time in nearly four years.

Visitors explored five floors of new and updated space. They browsed books in stacks on the fifth floor; studied in the McGregor Room; and bathed in the light streaming in from skylights, clerestories, and massive arched windows. Check out our Instagram page to see a video of the first patrons entering the building.

Photographer Tom Daly was there to capture opening day; take a look at some of the highlights below. 

Twelve people enter a large room through the front doors. A man in a green coat applauds.
Patrons lined up outside before the library opened to the public on Jan. 8. Some applauded after walking through the doors.
A woman stands in the lobby of the library gazing up in happiness. Beind her, people take pictures and mingle.
A patron took in the view in Memorial Hall. 
A student sits at a long table working in a large room with yellow walls, big windows, a checkered floor, and bookshelves.
A student studied in the Reference and Periodicals Room on the fourth floor. 
Students gather around an apeture railing on the fifth floor of the library, overlooking the fourth floor below. Above them, natural light flows in through clerestory windows.
Students chatted on the fifth floor of the library. The cast iron panel in the aperture railing is a detail from the Rotunda, the University’s first library.
Three smiling students look at books while standing in the stacks.
Students skimmed books in the fifth-floor stacks. 
A student lounges in a comfortable chair in in an ornate, old-fashioned room with Persian rugs and a fireplace.
A student worked in the McGregor Room, also known as the “Harry Potter Room,” on the second floor.
A young man stands in a large lobby with a checkered floor letting the sunlight stream through the windows onto his face.light
A student stood in the sunlight in Memorial Hall.
Sunlight shines through clerestory windows onto numerous shelves of books on the fifth floor.
The stacks are waiting for you; come visit soon!