May 7, 2014, marked the 50th anniversary of the dedication of the Hesburgh Library and concluded our year-long anniversary celebration. This important milestone offered the opportunity to reflect on our past and on Father Hesburgh’s vision that Memorial Library (now Hesburgh Library) would stand as a symbol of academic excellence and the pursuit of truth. This look back anchors our new vision to build a 21st century research library – one that will inspire intellectual inquiry and academic excellence for the next 50 years and beyond.
As part of this renewed vision, the University of Notre Dame is pleased to share plans for a full-scale renovation of the interior of the iconic Hesburgh Library building. The Hesburgh Library and its now world famous Word of Life mural, is named in honor of Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, C.S.C., Notre Dame’s president emeritus. Hesburgh Library is the flagship library for Notre Dame’s library system—collectively called the Hesburgh Libraries. Grand in both vision and scale, the building spans over 440,000 square feet, stands 14 stories tall, and was believed to be the largest collegiate library of its day.
The University engaged the architecture firm of Shepley Bulfinch to assist with development of a master building plan for the Hesburgh Library. Guided by the master plan, renovation will be a multi-phased process beginning in December of 2014 and spanning several years. The focus will be on a bold and total space transformation that creates connections among scholars, services and resources; enhances teaching and research; and inspires learning and discovery for Notre Dame students and faculty in the digital age.
When asked about the future of the Hesburgh Library, in a recent interview for Words of Life by Bill Schmitt, Father Hesburgh said, “I wanted in 1963, and still desire today, for the Memorial Library literally to stand for the future of Notre Dame as a place of unmatched intellectual achievement, free inquiry, and providential contributions to mankind. Let the Library be a place on this campus where that hunger for truth will keep getting stronger, supporting freedom and justice around the world, inspiring excellence, and prodding us to bigger dreams.”
In honor of our rich legacy and in preparation for an inspired future, we invite you to follow this journey of transformation as we work to restore this beloved icon.