21st Century Library

Phase 1 of the 21st Century Library Project for the John C. Hitt Library is underway. Library floors will be expanded and completely renovated during three phases, providing immediate access to library resources, library and technical assistance, and technology. Student needs are at the center of the 21st Century Library design, which promotes collaborative scholarship and individual research and creativity.

The exciting first phase in the plan for the 21st Century Library includes the construction of an Automated Retrieval Center (ARC) for library materials, conversion of the fifth floor to a new quiet study area, more electrical outlets, fire and safety improvements including renovated stairwells and sprinklers throughout the building, accessible restrooms, and upgraded elevators. Future phases will include the construction of a building that connects the ARC to the library building, and a complete renovation of the existing library buildings. More group study rooms, as well as graduate student space, a reading room atop the Automated Retrieval Center, a digital commons, 3,264 seats in varied types for individual and group study, expanded special collections and exhibits area, and a new main entrance on the Student Union side of the building will be completed in future phases of the 21st Century Library project.

Check here for plans, images, and updates on the continuing transformation of the John C. Hitt Library.

Recent News


5th Floor Study Space Closed

5th floor study space will be closed during spring semester for the construction of a new quiet study space. 5th floor library offices and Special Collections and University Archives will remain open, accessible by the south staircase and the bank of three elevators. 4th floor will remain in use as a quiet study floor. The […]

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Noise Alert: 4th floor

Work is scheduled to begin on the 4th floor restrooms on the Student Union side of the John C. Hitt Library building on October 17. Work will include demolition and construction. Earplugs can be requested at the Circulation Desk, main floor. Site preparation for the Automated Retrieval Center continues on the north side of the […]

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21st Century Library concept exterior
21st Century Library concept circulation desk
21st Century Library concept reading room


UCF ARC logistics plan

About the Automated Retrieval Center (ARC)

An exciting element in the first phase of the 21st-century library plan is construction of an Automated Retrieval Center, or ARC.

Construction of the four-story ARC building will take place on the north (Student Union) side of the library building. The ARC will contain 1.25 million volumes of the library’s print collection, placed in bins three stories high, for retrieval by robotic cranes. Books can be requested with the click of a button on the computer screen. Each volume will be available for pickup in minutes.

  • Eventual capacity for 1.25 million print volumes
  • 5 robotic arms will retrieve bins that contain approximately 100 books
  • 6,942 bins in the first phase of implementation.
  • Bins will be stacked 36 high in specially made steel racks
  • ARC completion expected in early 2018
  • Transferring books into the ARC will free up space for up to 1,600 additional user seats

In Phase 2 of the 21st Century Library project, a building connecting the ARC to the existing building will be completed. The fourth floor of the ARC building will house a beautiful new space for students, a reading room surrounded by windows, overlooking the plaza in front of the Student Union.

Many libraries worldwide, including over twenty in the United States, have installed retrieval centers, including University of Chicago, North Carolina State University, University of Missouri Kansas City, and Georgia Southern University. Dematic Inc., the company which will install UCF’s Automated Retrieval Center, has created an animated video showing the operation of an ARC, at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QU1iZ2Cr32g


When will Phase 1 be completed?

Phase 1 will be completed during Fall Semester 2017.


When will the entire project be completed?

Planning for Phase 2 began in September 2016. A timeline for future phases of planning and work is not yet available. The entire project may take five years.


How is the  21st Century Library project being funded?

The 21st Century Library is being funded by the Capital Improvement Trust Fund (CITF). The Capital Improvement Trust Fund receives fees from students, which are paid as part of tuition.


What is included in future phases of the project?

Future phases include:

• A new main entrance, Student Union side

• 3,264 seats in varied types for individual and group study

• Reading room atop the Automated Retrieval Center

• Digital commons

• An area for graduate students with space for individual and collaborative study, research, and writing

• Expanded special collections and exhibits area

• Open-access stacks with the capacity for 300,000 volumes


Will part or all of the Library close during any Phase?

Library services and resources will remain available throughout the project. Space will be available for study and research in the John C. Hitt Library during all phases of work. Access to some areas of the Library will be restricted at times as the work proceeds, but alternative locations in the library for services and individual and collaborative work will be made available.

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