Hunt Library Facts

Hunt Library raingardenHunt Library Fact Sheet (PDF)

  • The Hunt Library and the adjacent parking deck, campus infrastructure, and stream restoration were constructed with $115.2 million in state appropriations, plus donor support. The state-funded cost for the building itself was $93.75 million.
  • Primary users are faculty, students, and staff in engineering, textiles, and other science programs.  As a second main library for the university, the Hunt Library also welcomes students, faculty, and partners from all disciplines.
  • Over 221,000 gross square feet, including space for the Institute for Emerging Issues and other university centers and institutes. Anchoring Centennial Campus’ Academic Oval, the building is longer and wider than a football field, stretching roughly 460 feet in length and 180 feet at its widest point.
  • 88 feet high at tallest point, providing dramatic views of Lake Raleigh and the city skyline.
  • Almost 100 group study rooms and technology-equipped spaces to support learning, research, and collaboration.
  • Robot-driven bookBot automated book delivery system holds up to 2 million volumes in 1/9 the space of conventional shelving, enabling the library to provide more space for learning and collaboration.  The bookBot is 50 feet wide by 160 feet long by 50 feet tall and is excavated 20 feet below the first floor.
  • The bookBot delivers books in minutes with a click in the Libraries' online catalog. Visitors can watch the bookBot in action through a glass wall on the first floor ("Robot Alley"), as four robots dart up and down enormous aisles to pinpoint and retrieve materials.
  • Designed as a "green" building at the LEED Silver level.
  • Lead designer, Snøhetta, is one of the premier firms on the globe, responsible for the new Library of Alexandria and the National September 11 Memorial Museum Pavilion in New York.  North Carolina executive architects, Pearce Brinkley Cease + Lee, have created some of the most memorable buildings in the state. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is the Hunt Library important for NC State University?
Named the nation’s top research park in 2007, NC State’s Centennial Campus is a nexus of collaboration among students, faculty, researchers, and corporate, governmental, and institutional partners.  In the past 25 years, it has grown into a powerful engine of growth for the state and the nation—and is now the fastest growing part of the NC State campus. The Hunt Library stands as the intellectual and social heart of Centennial Campus—as well as NC State’s second main library.   

The iconic new library houses the engineering, textiles, and other science collections and embodies the spirit of the NCSU Libraries as NC State's competitive advantage. Its immersive technologies, inspiring spaces, and collaborative tools define the research library of the future and will make it a key factor in attracting and retaining the best faculty, students, and corporate partners.

In bringing together a state-of-the-art research library with the Institute for Emerging Issues, the Hunt Library is an international destination for those who seek to explore how collaborative spaces and innovative applications of technology can inspire the next generation of engineers, designers, scientists, researchers, and humanists.

The Hunt Library also helps remedy a substantial library study seating problem that has handicapped NC State. The University of North Carolina (UNC) standard is to provide library study seats for 20% of the student population.  Before the Hunt Library opened, the NCSU Libraries could only seat less than 5% of our students. With over 1,750 new seats, the Hunt Library almost doubles our study seating capacity, though still leaving us significantly below the UNC standard.


Who are the primary users of the Hunt Library?
The Hunt Library is the primary library facility for faculty and students in Engineering, Textiles, and other science programs. The library also serves researchers and employees in the many research centers, institutes, and laboratories on Centennial Campus and those of corporate, government, and nonprofit partners, including leaders in nanotechnology, information technology, biotechnology, and other growth industries.

As the second main library for the university, the Hunt Library also welcomes students, faculty, and partners from all disciplines.


What collections does the Hunt Library hold?
Hunt library graduate commonsThe Hunt Library is located on Centennial Campus, the fastest-growing section of NC State's campus and home to the College of Textiles, much of the College of Engineering, and other scientific disciplines. Accordingly, it houses collections centered on these disciplines and material critical to interdisciplinary research on Centennial Campus.

In addition to more than 1.5 million items in the bookBot, the Hunt Library offers selected collections on open shelving for browsing, including the most recent publications in engineering, computer science, and textiles (2007 to present) that are located in the Quiet Reading Room on the second floor and the Oval View Reading Lounge on the fourth floor.  The fourth floor also provides select print journals from publishers such as the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and seminal titles such as Science and Nature.  On the second floor, open shelves in the Rain Garden Reading Lounge and Quiet Reading Room hold classic works in engineering and textiles; core reference works in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics; a science fiction browsing collection; and books published by NC State University faculty.  
 

Who designed the Hunt Library?
The Hunt Library’s bold design is a visual statement of its bold purpose: to create a place not of the past but of the future, a place where our students, faculty, and partners can gather to establish new ways to research, learn, experiment, collaborate, and strengthen NC State’s long tradition of leading transformative change.

Snøhetta—based in Oslo and New York City—was the library’s lead designer. The firm was selected from 524 entries from 54 countries to reconceive and design the famed Library of Alexandria, lost to fire almost 2,000 years ago.  Snøhetta is now widely considered one of the most prominent architectural firms in the world.  Since beginning work on the Hunt Library, Snøhetta has won the 2009 Mies van der Rohe Prize for Contemporary Architecture, the 2010 European Award for Urban Public Space, and Archdaily’s 2011 Cultural Building of the Year.  Recent design projects include the National September 11 Memorial and Museum, the new look for Times Square in New York City, the addition to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Golden State Warriors complex on the San Francisco waterfront. 

Pearce Brinkley Cease + Lee, a North Carolina firm responsible for some of the most memorable buildings in the state, was the Hunt Library’s executive architect.  In 2012 Architecture Magazine ranked PBC+L as the 15th best firm in the United States.


Which is now the main library, the Hunt Library or the D. H. Hill Library?
The Hunt Library will be NC State’s second main library, serving the academic and research needs on Centennial Campus and—with its immersive technologies and inspiring spaces—attracting users from across the university.


How does the technology in the Hunt Library help raise NC State’s profile?
From the outset, the Hunt Library was designed to be one of the most technologically sophisticated learning spaces in the world, a place that encourages the next generation of technology-savvy entrepreneurs, researchers, and scholars to experiment and create with the tools that are driving our economy and culture. NC State’s competitive edge is forged on its reputation for teaching students to live on the fore of change and enabling its researchers to do transformative work.  The Hunt Library is equipped to keep that edge sharp.  

The bookBot robotic book delivery system can store up to two million items, delivering any of them within five minutes of a click in the online catalog.  Requiring 1/9 the space of conventional shelving, it transforms the 21st-century library from a storage facility into a rich environment of learning and collaborative spaces.  

Five giant high-definition display walls around the building showcase faculty and student work and encourage the exploration of the large-scale visualization techniques that are changing how we see and use data.  The 21-foot-wide video wall in the Game Lab gives NC State’s internationally recognized video game developers a canvas to re-envision how the industry moves forward. The Teaching and Visualization Lab’s rich visualization and display technologies open up the worlds of command/control room simulations, immersive interactive computing, “big data” decision theaters, and comparative social computing.

Green screens; studio lighting; software and hardware fully equipped for creating and mixing music, voice recording, and video—the Hunt Library is filled with the media tools that are transforming how both scholarship and business communications are practiced today. A 3D printer and laser cutter in the Makerspace enable students and researchers to prototype and “print” out multidimensional physical versions of their designs. 


What is the bookBot?
At the core of this technologically immersive library is the bookBot robotic book delivery system, which can store up to two million items in a climate-controlled environment and deliver any of them within five minutes of a click in the online catalog.  Requiring 1/9 the space of conventional shelving, the bookBot helps transform the 21st-century library from a storage facility into a rich environment of learning and collaborative spaces.  

Though the technology underlying high-density automated shelving has been used in large-scale industries such as automotive manufacturing and textiles for many years, it is now becoming a transformational tool for the handful of pioneering research libraries that are deploying it.

In the bookBot, books and other items are barcoded, sorted by size, and stored in over 18,000 bins. Each item is scanned whenever it is removed from and returned to the system, maximizing the available storage space and allowing the Libraries’ online catalog to track the location of all materials at all times.  An accompanying Virtual Browse system brings serendipity into the 21st century by allowing users to see a virtual shelf of all items that are related in subject.  This virtual view can be expanded beyond the Libraries’ collection to encompass the Triangle Research Libraries Network and other available collections as well.  

The system is both fascinating to watch and easy to use. Within minutes of receiving a request, one of the bookBot’s robotic cranes retrieves the requested material and delivers it to an operator, who sends it on to the Ask Us center or to other library locations on campus via a rapid delivery service.


What is Virtual Browse?
Most library users have experienced "accidentally" finding just the right resource shelved next to the book they were originally seeking. The Hunt Library takes this serendipity to the next level, integrating access to collections in the bookBot and in other locations on campus and beyond. Virtual Browse allow users to see the books and other materials related in subject, including the growing number of electronic books in the collection—and then to browse online through both the tables of contents and many of the items themselves. This virtual view can be expanded beyond the Libraries’ collection to encompass the Triangle Research Libraries Network and other collections available for request and delivery as well. 

Virtual browsing reflects the modern nature of our collection, which contains both physical and electronic objects, and provides an improved browsing experience—one worthy of a leading university with its roots deep in providing technological solutions to the world's greatest problems.


Does the Hunt Library have any open stacks?
While most of the Hunt Library’s collection is held in the bookBot, over 30,000 recent books and journals in science, engineering, and textiles—as well as books by NC State authors—are available in open shelving on the second and fourth floors.  The most recent publications in engineering, computer science, and textiles (2007 to present) are located in the Quiet Reading Room on the second floor and the Oval View Reading Lounge on the fourth floor.  The fourth floor also provides select print journals from publishers such as the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and seminal titles such as Science and Nature.  On the second floor, open shelves in the Rain Garden Reading Lounge and Quiet Reading Room hold classic works in engineering, computer science, and textiles; core reference works in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics; a science fiction browsing collection; and books published by NC State University faculty.  


Are food and game spaces available at Hunt?
Students and faculty often spend many hours at a time in the library. They need safe, convenient, in-building areas to grab a snack or relax without substantially interrupting their work time. The Hunt Library offers a café on the first floor with coffee, ice cream, snacks, and drinks; a vending area on the fifth floor near the Skyline Reading Room; and a Game Lab on the third floor to meet these needs.


How green is the Hunt Library?
NC State University has committed to lead by example in advancing sustainability as a moral imperative and as an economic advantage.  The Hunt Library is a model of that leadership.  Shaded by its beautiful solar fins, warming its water with rooftop solar panels, cooled and heated by innovative chilled beam and radiant panel systems, filtering storm runoff with beautiful green roofs and the Rain Garden, and flooded with natural light, the building has been designed for a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver environmental rating.


How can I support the Hunt Library?
The "Powered By Technology Partnerships Program offers corporate partners the opportunity to contribute to fulfilling the Hunt Library vision today and sustaining it into the future.

An inspiring way to ensure your legacy at NC State is to name one of the high-profile areas in the Hunt Library; detailed information is available on our Naming Opportunities page.

 

What happens to the D.H. Hill Libra​ry now, and will it still be a destination for students?
The D.H. Hill Library holds the largest number of print materials in the collection, currently over 1.5 million volumes and still growing each year.   With some of the best learning spaces at the university, the D. H. Hill Library is the larger of the two main libraries on campus and will continue to attract millions of users each year from a wide variety of disciplines. The D. H. Hill Library will remain as much of an NC State icon in its own way as the Hunt Library is in its, and we intend to keep making it better.

Even with the addition of the Hunt Library, the NCSU Libraries can only provide study seating for about 10 percent of our student population, while the UNC system standard calls for 20%.  So there remains a great need for library learning space on our campus, and the high traffic at D. H. Hill (and the intensive use of its study seats) has not slowed down since the Hunt Library opened.

As funding becomes available, future plans for D. H. Hill include creating many more of the sorts of spaces that have made it so popular and important for NC State students, such as Faculty and Graduate Student Research Commons, a Makerspace, and spaces for large-scale display and visualization that can be used by students and faculty in all colleges and disciplines.