KU News Release


Nov. 28, 2011
Contact: Rebecca Smith, KU Libraries, 785-864-1761

KU Libraries to host reception for opening of Stokstad Reading Room

More Information

LAWRENCE — After 10 months of planning and construction, KU Libraries is celebrating the grand opening of the Marilyn Stokstad Reading Room in the Kenneth Spencer Research Library with a reception Tuesday, Nov. 29.

In addition to being a distinguished professor of art history at the University of Kansas and prolific author of art history textbooks, Stokstad has made a number of contributions to KU and has been a supporter of KU Libraries for many years.

In January, Stokstad made the $250,000 gift to KU Endowment to fund a redesign of the reading room and lobby of Spencer, creating a new central service point in the lobby to make using the library’s spaces, services and collections easier for visitors. The new reading room will accommodate a larger number of patrons and has an enclosed teaching and consultation space for small groups.

“Dr. Stokstad’s gift comes at a crucial point for us at Spencer,” said Beth Whittaker, head of Spencer Research Library. “It has enabled us not only to modernize the space for researchers and visitors, but to make it a more welcoming and helpful environment.”

Because the collections in Spencer do not circulate and are stored in closed stacks, the reading room is the focal point of the library. The project addresses the need for additional consultation/small group teaching space, as well as several practical needs, such as improved wayfinding for users, emergency egress, noise control, enhanced security, new flooring, upgraded wiring, lighting and more power outlets.

The event includes a private champagne toast for members of the Vosper Society, the group honoring KU Libraries benefactors, at 6 p.m. Remarks are scheduled for 6:45 p.m. A public reception will follow at 7 p.m., with a special program scheduled for 7:30 p.m. The grand opening, which will be held in the newly redesigned space, is free and open to the public. To RSVP, send email or call 785-864-8961.

The Vosper Society is named for celebrated librarian and former director of KU Libraries Robert Vosper (1913-1994); it honors those who demonstrate interest in and support for KU Libraries’ purpose, vision and potential as an essential partner to scholarship at KU and beyond. To learn more, visit here.

Stokstad’s gift counted toward Far Above: The Campaign for Kansas, a comprehensive campaign scheduled to have a public kickoff in April 2012.

The Kenneth Spencer Research Library’s faculty and staff are dedicated to the preservation of diverse collections ranging from medieval manuscripts and other rare books to Kansas historical records to national political documents. For more information, visit the Spencer online.


The University of Kansas is a major comprehensive research and teaching university. University Relations is the central public relations office for KU's Lawrence campus.

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