Whitney Hale


College: Libraries

Young Library: A Sanctuary of Knowledge

Published: Apr 2, 2013


UK students talk about what they like about William T. Young Library on its 15th birthday.

A transcript of this video can be found here. Video by Amy Jones/UK Public Relations & Marketing.


LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 2, 2013) — Tomorrow will mark the 15th anniversary of the William T. Young Library. No single building on the University of Kentucky campus has had a more pronounced impact on our students and faculty. Since opening in the spring of 1998, Young Library has enabled UK Libraries to remain one of the nation’s leading research libraries, and it has become an icon of UK’s ambitions for the 21st century.


"William T. Young Library is a destination where students and faculty can balance study, technology, contemplation and inspiration," said Shawn Livingston, director of Young Library.


UK's main library has achieved the vision Lexington businessman and horse breeder and UK graduate William T. Young had for the new library. Along with UK President Charles T. Wethington Jr. and library director Paul A. Willis, Young launched an unprecedented fundraising campaign for the facility with his own initial gift of $5 million. The campaign ultimately raised $22 million including more than 14,000 private gifts for the $57 million facility. Following the successful building campaign, Young and his family led still another private fundraising effort that built UK’s book endowment among the largest of public research libraries.


Young later noted that, "I feel as good about what I have done for the library as anything I have ever done in my lifetime…. It is very easy to write a check. But I feel like my efforts have been worthwhile in the sense that they may have made a little difference in the life of the university and in the lives of Kentuckians."


And Young's gift certainly has touched the lives of many. Young Library measures 365,000 square feet and seats 4,000 people. It is home to the general undergraduate collection and social science, humanities, business, biology and agricultural materials; housing 1.2 million volumes — one fourth of UK Libraries' total collection.


Young Library is now undergoing the most extensive renovations in its 15 year history.  Earlier this spring, UK Libraries dedicated a newly renovated student study room as part of an effort to transform the building’s group study spaces. This fall the reference area and south wing of the second floor will undergo a $350,000 transformation into a new student learning space similar to the popular Hub @ WT’s. This open, technology-infused environment will encourage creativity and allow individuals and groups the spaces and tools to better explore their ideas.


Dean of Libraries Terry Birdwhistell appreciates the vision and work that made Young Library possible. "The same perseverance and vision that brought about the Young Library inspires us today to assure that it remains a learning and research center equipped for today’s students and faculty."


Located in the lower level, the Hub @ WT's provides study space and IT help in one convenient location and features more than 150 Windows computers as well as a Mac lab for student use, plus Mac video editing suites with Final Cut Pro available.


Since opening its doors, the cupola topped facility has captured the attention of many beyond the university. In 2007, the library graced the cover of The Chronicle of Higher Education: Almanac Issue and later served as a backdrop for UK football fans on ESPN's popular GameDay program.   


Young Library's collections, services and amenities make it what Dr. Mary Lynne Capilouto described during her first visit as a "sanctuary of learning."  




 MEDIA CONTACT: Whitney Hale, (859) 257-8716whitney.hale@uky.edu


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