A major restoration of the exterior of the Love Library cupola will begin May 16.
Shining across campus and downtown Lincoln since Love Library opened in 1943, the iconic structure has been regularly featured in University of Nebraska–Lincoln photos, publications and websites. With regular maintenance, the structure has endured nearly 80 years of harsh Nebraska weather and sun. It was last renovated in summer 2012.
Brent Morgan, libraries facilities coordinator, said the intention of the project is to restore the campus icon using modern materials better suited to withstand Nebraska’s vibrant weather.
“Funds for the restoration project are part of the LB384 maintenance funding, and the plan is to replace the rotted wood, windows, and paint the cupola’s roof,” Morgan said.
The project will take 10-12 weeks. A crane will be used during the first and last weeks, allowing for the placement and removal of scaffolding. Mats will be put on the south lawn to reduce damage while the crane is in place. In addition, the southeast sidewalk and entrance facing R Street will be inaccessible while the crane is on-site.
A covered walkway will run east to west along the south side of Love Library to allow for pedestrian traffic during most of the project. The work may result in increased noise on the upper levels of the library.
To preserve the history of the structure, pieces of the cupola’s wooden exterior will be preserved by the University Archives and Special Collections.
The University Libraries is also working to capture a series of photographs and videos of the interior of the cupola. The interior, which will not be impacted by the restoration, features signatures and handwritten messages from staff, students and others who have visited the space during the nearly 80-year history of the cupola.
One of the earliest marks is dated 1943, the year Love Library opened as a temporary barracks for cadets in the Army Specialized Training Program. Watch a video (above) of Erin Colonna, a graphics designer in the University Libraries, ascend into the cupola to photograph the items on the walls.
The University Libraries plan to share more information and photographs about the cupola in an online exhibition. Details will be announced.
University Facilities Planning and Construction is leading the restoration, with Paul Davis Restoration as the general contractor.