Collection News / Kislak / Penn Libraries / Van Pelt

Construction Project: Van Pelt-Dietrich Fifth Floor

This summer, the Penn Libraries will begin the construction of the last phase of the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts. The construction project will take place on the fifth floor of Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center. The project will provide two structural benefits to the Libraries and the Penn community: a secure, climate-controlled space for rare books and manuscripts as well as Penn’s first and only book and paper conservation lab to treat and repair library materials, ensuring that they will be preserved for generations of scholars. The new collections space will house thousands of volumes in a temperature and humidity-controlled environment and allow us to keep an array of special collections material on-site and readily available for researchers.

In preparation for the construction, work needs to be done to the heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning systems that run along a portion of the ceiling on the fifth floor. To allow access to the ceiling, books in stack ranges C (Auxiliary Sciences of History) and a portion of D (World History) will be temporarily relocated to a compact shelving area within Van Pelt Library.

We have taken every measure to limit the disruption of the use of these items. Beginning in July and ending in the late fall, books from the previously mentioned ranges will have to be requested for delivery through Faculty Express or for pickup at the Van Pelt Circulation Desk. Both of these services are accessible through Franklin (, found on the Penn Libraries homepage.

The Kislak Center Reading Room will remain open during all phases of the construction project. Patrons are asked to please request materials in advance to ensure they are retrieved and available.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. If you have questions or concerns about the general collection materials affected by the construction project, please contact Richard Griscom (Acting Director, Collection Development; or Jon Shaw (Director, Logistics and Access Services; For questions about special collections materials, please contact Will Noel (Director, Kislak Center;

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