If you attended the University of Utah in the past 32 years, you are probably one of thousands who have an attachment to the J. Willard Marriott Library. This landmark at the heart of campus has been a gathering place where students not only study but also meet and enjoy time with friends.

Today, plans are under way to sustain the Marriott’s continued role as an integral part of campus life for students and faculty in the years to come. In the not-too-distant future, when state and private funding can be secured, the Marriott Library will receive a critically needed structural face-lift. An estimated $57 million renovation is required to transform it into an innovative 21st century teaching, learning, and research center.

One floor of the library will be a new Information Commons, an area uniquely designed to prepare students to succeed in the age of technology. Seen as a campus hub, the Information Commons will include a redesigned computer facility with multimedia equipment, high-technology classrooms, and group study areas.

“I’m happy to report that the Marriott Library renovation-innovation project is moving forward with a generous initial gift made by the J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation and the Marriott family,” says Sarah Michalak, library director. “In addition, our efforts have been given an excellent jump start through gifts from other generous benefactors.”

Already completed on the library’s second floor is the recently dedicated Katherine W. Dumke Fine Arts and Architecture Library, funded by a gift from the Katherine W. Dumke and Ezekiel R. Dumke, Jr. Foundation. This collection provides specialized reference in the areas of visual arts, art history, architecture, music, ballet, and modern dance.

The Janet T. Dee and Lawrence T. Dee Foundation has also made a commitment to the project. According to David L. Dee MA’01, a foundation trustee, their support will help the library “play an even greater part in meeting the needs of students. We like the idea of transforming the library into a place that is more than banks of computers and books on shelves,” he says.

The library renovation project has also received a generous gift from the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation. “The library is so important to the entire University and to our community,” says Lisa Eccles BA’86, executive director of the foundation. “We’re pleased to be able to assist it in keeping pace with the needs of the faculty and students.”

Much-needed seismic, mechanical, and electrical upgrades will also be made to the library, along with the installment of environmental controls suitable for preserving rare and fragile materials. “Our goal is to transform this already excellent library into a state-of-the-art facility where students will use the latest technologies to access the most current research materials and receive a high level of personal assistance in using both information technology and traditional library resources.”

David W. Pershing, Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, University of Utah


The renovated spaces at the J. Willard Marriott Library will include:

• Enhanced computerized access to the library’s holdings—the largest collection of books, journals, maps, manuscripts, historic photographs, and rare books in the Intermountain West
• Technologically equipped lecture halls and classrooms
• Specialized support for academic areas with reference librarians and materials
• An Information Commons with technical software specialists, computer and audio-visual equipment, and a multitude of reference materials
• A student café and small group study areas
For more information, call Heidi Brett, 801-581-8558.