Sept. 18 Dinner in the Library Focuses on ‘Building for the Future’


The University of California, San Diego’s 12th annual Dinner in the Library will take place Friday, Sept. 18 in the university’s iconic Geisel Library building. The event, which is open to the public, will celebrate the theme “Building for the Future,” with proceeds supporting the UC San Diego Library’s collections, services and learning spaces. Festivities will include dinner and cocktails, a silent auction and a keynote talk from Sarah Thomas, vice president for the Harvard Library.

“The UC San Diego Library plays a vital role in supporting the university’s world-renowned research and instruction,” said Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla.  “Private support from Dinner in the Library helps ensure that the Library remains at the leading-edge of the nation’s academic libraries. We are pleased to have Sarah Thomas of Harvard Library join us to share her insights on the enduring value and impact of libraries.”

Dinner in the Library attendees will hear from Thomas on a topic that is of critical interest to readers and lovers of knowledge and libraries. Her talk, “Back to the Future with the Brave New Library,” will focus on how libraries are changing to meet evolving scholarly and public needs in new and often unexpected ways. Before joining Harvard in 2013 to head the university’s vast library system, Thomas served as Bodley’s Librarian, overseeing the libraries of the University of Oxford, including the renowned Bodleian Library, which dates back to the 12th century. She was the first woman and non-British citizen to hold Oxford’s head librarian position, and published “The Bod Squad” in Transforming the Bodleian (2012), detailing her experiences. Previously, Thomas served as the Carl A. Kroch University Librarian at Cornell University.

“We are thrilled to host Sarah Thomas for a talk addressing the future of libraries in the digital age,” said Brian E.C. Schottlaender, The Audrey Geisel University Librarian. “Like many libraries across the nation—and around the globe—we see library facilities and resources being used just as much as in the past, but in different ways.  It is critical that academic libraries such as the UC San Diego Library continue evolving to meet the ever-changing needs of our students, scholars and researchers. I can think of few speakers, if any, better suited than Sarah Thomas to expound upon this evolution—and to do so with wit and grace.”

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Hundreds of Seuss Fans Visit Geisel to Celebrate New Dr. Seuss Book


Hundreds of Dr. Seuss fans paid a visit to Geisel Library on July 28 to celebrate the release of  the new Dr. Seuss book, What Pet Should I Get?. At the event, the UC San Diego Bookstore sold a limited number of copies of the new book, which was released publicly by Random House on July 28.

Along with the book sale, the Library’s annual exhibition of original drawings and sketches by Theodor Seuss Geisel, “Boids & Beasties,” was on view. The exhibition included original materials from What Pet Should I Get?.

What Pet Should I Get? is based on materials that were donated in 2013 by Audrey Geisel to the UC San Diego Library’s Dr. Seuss Collection, the primary repository for Theodor Seuss Geisel’s creative works. The Library’s Mandeville Special Collections houses more than 15,000 items in its Dr. Seuss Collection, including original drawings, sketches, manuscript drafts, books, notebooks, photographs and memorabilia, documenting the full range of Theodor Seuss Geisel’s creative achievements, from his high school activities in 1919 up until his death in 1991.

Photos from the event can be viewed here.

Library to Hold Book Launch for New Dr. Seuss Book July 28


Join us on Tuesday, July 28 in the Geisel Library’s Seuss Room Foyer from 11 am – 1 pm to celebrate and buy a copy of the new Dr. Seuss book, What Pet Should I Get?. The book, based on recently discovered materials given to the Library’s Mandeville Special Collections’ Dr. Seuss Collection, will be released by Random House on July 28. Copies of the book will be sold by the UC San Diego Bookstore and some of the original materials used in the book will be on display. “Boids & Beasties,” the annual exhibition of original drawings and sketches by Theodor Seuss Geisel, is also currently on view and includes original materials from the new book. Lemonade and animal crackers will be served!

Audrey Geisel Donates $3 Million to Renovate Geisel Library

Geisel Night DrSeuss UCSDCommPub

San Diego philanthropist, literacy advocate, and longtime supporter of the University of California, San Diego, Audrey Geisel, has donated $3 million toward the renovation of the university’s iconic flagship building, Geisel Library. The gift kicks off a major initiative to transform and revitalize the interior public spaces of Geisel Library to meet the evolving needs of students, faculty, and other Library users in the digital age. Geisel’s gift will be used to renovate and update the entry level of Geisel Library, which opened in 1972 as the university’s Central Library. In 1995, the William Pereira-designed building—known by many as “the spaceship”—was named in honor of Audrey and her late husband, Theodor “Dr. Seuss” Geisel, in recognition of a major gift from Audrey Geisel.

“We are extremely grateful to Audrey for this generous lead gift to launch the Geisel Library Revitalization Initiative,” said Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla.  “This will ensure that Geisel Library, a campus and architectural landmark, continues to provide the outstanding services and spaces needed to support today’s students and scholars, as well as members of the local community. Audrey has been one of the university’s most generous and stalwart supporters, and with this gift, the Geisel legacy will continue to shape our future success as a world-class university.”

The UC San Diego Library is ranked amongst the top 25 academic research libraries in the nation, with more than seven million digital and print volumes, journals, and multimedia materials. Library resources provide the foundation of knowledge for many of the groundbreaking discoveries, treatments, and intellectual achievements for which UC San Diego has become renowned. While many of the Library’s information resources are available online 24/7, more than 1.5 million people stream through the Geisel Library and the Biomedical Library buildings each year, and the Library’s vast resources and services are accessed more than 5.7 million times via the Library website.

Audrey Geisel“When I first saw the space-age building that is now Geisel Library, I was enamored with its iconic design, as well as its scholarly and literacy mission,” said Geisel. “Decades later, I am delighted with the impact the Library has had on countless students, researchers, and scholars, as well as on San Diego. It gives me great joy to help ensure that Geisel Library will continue to attract and fuel students, scholars, and community members who are passionate about learning.”

While the UC San Diego Library has long been recognized as a leader in digitizing its collections and in harnessing technology to advance scholarship, the 285,000 square-foot facility—which is more than four decades old—has become dated.  As the Library’s collections continue to shift from print to digital, spaces no longer needed to house books and journals are increasingly needed for collaborative learning and research.

“There is no way to convey how much Audrey’s gift means to the UC San Diego Library,” said Brian E. C. Schottlaender, The Audrey Geisel University Librarian.  “I am thrilled with the positively transformative effect this will have on the Geisel Library public spaces, and how much this will benefit the campus and local communities. Audrey’s incredible support through the existing Geisel Library Endowments has ensured a level of excellence in our collections and staff, and helped maintain our ranking as a top 25 research library during a time of significant budget cuts. This current use gift will launch an exciting new chapter in our evolution, ensuring that Geisel Library continues to function as a vital and innovative facility that enables our talented students, faculty, and staff to excel.”

The main (2nd) floor of Geisel Library is the most active learning space in the Library. Based on ongoing assessments of user needs and traffic patterns, this floor will be redesigned to more effectively support the various approaches to study, research, and learning of today’s students and scholars. The major renovation will include a reconfigured lobby entrance; a significant upgrade to the existing Learning Commons; a new Research Commons; a café and lounge; the implementation of new technologies; and significant enhancements to furniture, carpeting and finishes.

“Our library facilities are being used now, more than ever,” said Schottlaender. “But, like many libraries across the nation, the Library is being used in different ways than it has in the past.  Our hope is that this generous gift will lead to more support, so we can upgrade other public spaces in the building in the near future. I would urge others to join Audrey in helping fulfill this exciting initiative to transform Geisel Library into a library that is well-equipped for 21st century learners. We want this amazing building to be as inspiring on the inside as it is bold on the outside.”

Geisel Library is also home to the Dr. Seuss Collection—in Mandeville Special Collections—with more than 12,000 original drawings, sketches, manuscript drafts, books, notebooks, photographs, and other memorabilia documenting the creative achievements of Theodor Seuss Geisel. In 1992, additional space was added to the Geisel Library building with the construction of subterranean wings by Gunnar Birkerts & Associates, preserving the silhouette of the building’s striking geometric design.

Renovation of the entry level of Geisel Library is the first stage of the Geisel Library Revitalization Initiative, with additional major enhancements slated for the 1st and 8th floors. Private support is essential to accomplishing this ambitious undertaking. For further information on the initiative, please click here or contact Julie Sully, Director of Development for the Library, at or 858-822-4554.

Have you considered a tour of the Library?

Walk-in Tours each Wednesday during July 2015 at 1 pm.

During August 2015, walk-in tours will begin at 2 pm.

A Tour guide will greet you in the lobby of the Geisel Library at the Information Desk

Tours for Current & Incoming UCSD Students and their Families & Other UCSD Affiliates may request a tour by completing the form at this link.

Tour collage

Small print:

Visitors to the UC San Diego Library are requested to respect the needs of the campus community by minimizing interference, not blocking traffic, and keeping visits short. Tour groups are restricted to the 1st and 2nd floors of the building. Floors 4–8 are designated for quiet study.

Toy Piano Festival – 15th Anniversary Celebration

Join us for this special event, as we celebrate the Toy Piano Festival’s 15th Anniversary.

Sunday, August 30, 2015 @ 3:00pm

Monday, August 31, 2015 @ 12:00pm (noon)

Seuss Room, Geisel Library


Since 2000, the UC San Diego Library has hosted a Toy Piano Festival on or around September 5 to honor the birthday of John Cage, the first composer to write a “serious” work for toy pianos.

This year’s festival will feature “the Queen of Boogie-Woogie,” Sue Palmer, who returns to the stage to perform an excellent array of toy piano pieces in addition to several other UC San Diego alumni composers. In honor of the event’s 15th anniversary, a special award will be presented to nearby music store, La Jolla Music, for their years supporting the local community’s musical and instrumental needs.

The toy piano collection at Geisel Library consists of actual instruments, commissioned scores, and extant literature and recordings. In May of 2001, the Library of Congress issued a subject heading and call number for toy piano scores because of the activities of the Toy Piano Collection at Geisel Library. The call number is: M 175 T69.

For more information about the event, contact Scott Paulson at (858) 822-5758 or

Active Learning Using Mobile Whiteboards

Need to brainstorm alternate solutions to a problem? Want to draw out diagrams or work out equations visually?  There are now multiple mobile whiteboards dispersed throughout floors one and two of the Geisel Library for student use while studying.Whiteboard

The Geisel East Learning Commons has a rack of hand held whiteboards that are available to be used in that area.  Students may check out white board markers and erasers from the Circulation desk in the front lobby of Geisel Library.

14th Annual Paper Theatre Festival











For the 14th year, the UC San Diego Library will celebrate the history, wonder and awe of Paper Theatre, a popular Victorian era theatrical souvenir and educational toy. Our weekend-long exhibit on August 7, 8 and 9 from noon – 3:oo p.m. in the Seuss Room of Geisel Library will include a large collection of colorful scale model theatres. Special Paper Theatre performances will also be held on Friday, August 7 at 12:30 p.m., and at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, August 8 and Sunday, August 9.

About Paper Theatre

Paper theatre, also called “Table Top Theatre” or “Toy Theatre”, dates back to the Victorian Era. At that time, theatrical playhouses printed fine souvenir posters showing architectural elements of their theatre. Aspects of set design were shown on the posters along with drawings of actual actors of the company (shown in costume from a specific production).  Condensed scripts were included in these poster kits and paper doll players were soon seen in lively productions on a table top at home.

Families and hobbyists would cut out the proscenium, the curtain, etc., to create a scale model of that specific theatre. These paper theatre hobbyists ended up learning much about scenic design, lighting effects, sound effects, music, acting, directing, choreography—all through this paper theatre toy, and many aspects of theatre were introduced to producers and performers of all ages.

Theatre-goers often bought these paper theatre posters as souvenirs promoting an actual production they saw.  Those living far from the theatre district ordered paper theatres from a catalog and had them delivered to their small town as an educational toy for the household. A lot of cutting and pasting was involved but hours of educational fun and artistic exploration would follow. The many two-dimensional layers of a paper theatre add up to something with surprising depth and charm.

For more information, contact Scott Paulson at (858) 822-5758 or

Steampunk Tea Draws Time-travelers, Explorers, and Victorians to Geisel Library

More than 100 time-travelers, explorers, and Victorians gathered at UC San Diego’s Geisel Library on Sunday, June 28, 2015 to revel in all things Steampunk. Guests–dressed in a wide range of Victorian-era-meets-modern-technology garb–sipped exotic teas, watched a Magic lantern show, and enjoyed chamber music performed on steampunk-inspired instruments.

UCSD_SteamPunkTea-6  UCSD_SteamPunkTea-13

Special guests at this year’s party included science writers from the Arthur C. Clarke Center for the Human Imagination’s Clarion Writers’ Workshop, and Anastasia Hunter, leader of Gaslight Gathering, who read samplings of steampunk literature. Steampunkers also participated in a variety of hands-on activity booths, where they could curate a paper theatre display by selecting characters and scenery; assemble exotic take-home teabags; and design a ‘Cornell Box.’

The inventors among the group completed a patent application for their next Steampunk invention (hopefully some of which will come to fruition in time for next year’s gathering), while the brave and adventurous got a stamp in their passports so they could travel back in time via the magnificent Steampunk time machine. Steampunk first-timers were invited to stop by the milliner’s to have their heads measured for a traditional hat to be made in their honor, before visiting the ‘Mustard Bar’ where they taste-tested and submitted formal culinary reviews of the various curiosities.

Take a step back in time and view the photos from the event here. For more information about the Annual Steampunk Tea Party, contact Scott Paulson at


Visit the East Learning Commons, Geisel Floor 2 for the Finals Week Stress Free Zone

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