Come to a community open house celebrating the historic restoration of MIT’s Great Dome, and the opening of Barker Library’s 24-hour reading room on Wednesday, April 10th, 2013, from 2:00pm to 4:00pm in the Barker Library Reading Room. President L. Rafael Reif will make remarks; refreshments will follow.
After an extensive renovation project, the Barker Library reading room has reopened to reveal the grandeur of the restored oculus atop the Great Dome, and the beauty of the rotunda’s original architecture. Now it can be enjoyed by the MIT community 24 hours a day, seven days a week, a perfect location for quiet study.
Since 1916, MIT’s Great Dome has had pride of place in the Institute’s iconography: Sitting atop Building 10 and towering over Killian Court, it has witnessed the inaugurations of presidents and the graduations of generations of students; it has appeared, in photographs and stylized depictions, on letterhead, class rings, and hosts of souvenirs; and, of course, it’s been the site of some of MIT’s most famous hacks . . .
Now, for the first time in more than 70 years, the space beneath the dome — the Barker Library reading room, a 75-foot rotunda with an intricate 27-foot skylight, or oculus — has been restored to its original splendor. “If the Great Dome is MIT’s signature building,” says Stephanie Hartman, a librarian at Barker who has been researching the history of the reading room, “then in some sense, the reading room is MIT’s signature space.”