Joellen Murray

Written by Joellen Murray

Modified & Updated: 03 Mar 2024

Sherman Smith

Reviewed by Sherman Smith


McHenry Library is more than just a building on the campus of the University of California, Santa Cruz. It’s a place where knowledge comes alive, where students immerse themselves in a world of information, and where the past and present meet in an inspiring and breathtaking setting. With its stunning architecture, vast collection of books, and state-of-the-art technology, McHenry Library is a hub of academic excellence.

In this article, we are going to explore 13 unbelievable facts about McHenry Library, shedding light on its fascinating history, unique features, and the incredible resources it offers to students and researchers. From its impressive collection of over two million books to its hidden underground archives, from the stunning views it offers to the ocean to its famous treehouse reading room, McHenry Library is a treasure trove of wonders waiting to be discovered. So, let’s dive in and uncover the secrets of this remarkable landmark.

Key Takeaways:

  • McHenry Library at UC Santa Cruz is a modern marvel with 2 million books, a rooftop garden, and digital scholarship hub, making it a treasure trove for students and researchers.
  • The library offers inclusive and sustainable spaces, engaging events, and unique student employment opportunities, making it an integral part of the UC Santa Cruz experience.
Table of Contents

The McHenry Library is an architectural masterpiece

The McHenry Library, located on the campus of the University of California, Santa Cruz, is a stunning example of modern architecture. Designed by the renowned architect Antoine Predock, this iconic structure perfectly blends natural and man-made elements, creating a striking visual presence on the campus.

It houses over 2 million volumes of books and resources

The McHenry Library is home to one of the largest collections of books and resources in the entire University of California system. With over 2 million volumes, including rare manuscripts, academic journals, and specialized materials, it serves as an invaluable resource for students, researchers, and scholars.

The library has a unique rooftop garden

One of the most remarkable features of the McHenry Library is its rooftop garden. This lush green space provides a tranquil retreat for students and visitors, offering stunning views of the surrounding campus and the picturesque Santa Cruz Mountains. It’s the perfect place to study, relax, or simply enjoy the beauty of nature.

McHenry Library has a state-of-the-art digital scholarship hub

In addition to its extensive physical collection, the McHenry Library boasts a state-of-the-art digital scholarship hub. Equipped with the latest technology and resources, this innovative space allows students and researchers to explore digital collections, engage in collaborative projects, and pursue cutting-edge research in various fields.

The library is known for its exceptional research support

With a dedicated team of librarians and research specialists, the McHenry Library is committed to providing exceptional support for research and scholarly pursuits. From expert guidance on locating resources to assistance with data analysis and preservation, the library plays a pivotal role in promoting academic excellence and facilitating knowledge creation at UC Santa Cruz.

McHenry Library houses fascinating special collections

One of the most intriguing aspects of the McHenry Library is its impressive array of special collections. These include rare books, manuscripts, archives, and artifacts that cover a wide range of subjects, from California history to literature and beyond. Exploring these collections offers a unique glimpse into the past and enhances the research capabilities of students and scholars.

The library hosts engaging exhibitions and events

McHenry Library is not just a repository of knowledge; it also serves as a vibrant cultural hub. Throughout the year, the library hosts a variety of engaging exhibitions, workshops, lectures, and other events that showcase the rich intellectual and creative endeavors of the UC Santa Cruz community. These events foster a sense of community and provide valuable opportunities for intellectual exploration and enrichment.

It provides access to a vast array of online databases

As a modern research institution, the McHenry Library understands the importance of digital resources. It offers access to a vast array of online databases, scholarly journals, e-books, and other electronic resources, ensuring that students and researchers have easy access to the latest information and research materials in their respective fields.

McHenry Library offers specialized research consultations

Recognizing the unique research needs of its patrons, the McHenry Library provides specialized research consultations. Whether it’s assistance with data management, citation styles, or literature reviews, the library’s knowledgeable staff is available to provide personalized support and guidance, empowering researchers to make the most of their scholarly endeavors.

The library prides itself on its inclusive and accessible environment

McHenry Library is committed to creating an inclusive and accessible environment for all its users. It provides a range of assistive technologies, accessible workstations, and accommodations for individuals with disabilities. The library’s staff is dedicated to ensuring that everyone has equal access to its resources and services.

It offers unique opportunities for student employment

As a bustling hub of academic activity, the McHenry Library offers unique opportunities for student employment. From working at the circulation desk to assisting with research projects, students can gain valuable skills and experience while contributing to the library’s mission of supporting teaching, learning, and research.

McHenry Library is a beacon of sustainability

The McHenry Library takes its commitment to sustainability seriously. From its energy-efficient design to its recycling and waste reduction programs, the library strives to minimize its ecological footprint. Additionally, the rooftop garden serves as both a beautiful green space and a demonstration of sustainable landscaping practices.

It is an integral part of the UC Santa Cruz experience

The McHenry Library is not just a building; it is an integral part of the UC Santa Cruz experience. It serves as a haven for intellectual exploration, a source of inspiration, and a catalyst for scholarly pursuits. The library’s vibrant atmosphere and wealth of resources contribute to the unique educational environment that sets UC Santa Cruz apart.

These 13 unbelievable facts about McHenry Library demonstrate the importance and significance of this iconic institution within the UC Santa Cruz community. From its stunning architecture to its extensive collections and innovative research support, the McHenry Library is truly a treasure trove of knowledge and a cornerstone of academic excellence.


McHenry Library is not just a building filled with books; it is a treasure trove of history, knowledge, and culture. From its breathtaking architecture to its fascinating collection, it offers a unique experience for students and visitors alike. Whether you’re studying, exploring the exhibits, or simply soaking in the atmosphere, McHenry Library is a place that captivates and inspires. So, the next time you find yourself in Santa Cruz, make sure to pay a visit to McHenry Library and experience its magic firsthand.


1. What are the operating hours of McHenry Library?
McHenry Library is open from Monday to Friday, from 8:00 AM to 9:00 PM. On weekends, it is open from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM.

2. Can anyone visit McHenry Library?
Yes, McHenry Library is open to the public. Visitors can explore the library’s exhibits and access certain resources with a guest pass.

3. Are there any unique collections in McHenry Library?
Yes, McHenry Library houses several unique and special collections, including the Grateful Dead Archive, the University Archives, and the Regional History Project.

4. Can I borrow books from McHenry Library?
Yes, students, faculty, and staff of the University of California, Santa Cruz have borrowing privileges at McHenry Library. Visitors can access the materials onsite but cannot borrow them.

5. Is there Wi-Fi available at McHenry Library?
Yes, McHenry Library provides free Wi-Fi access to its visitors. You can connect to the UCSC-GUEST network.

6. Are there study spaces available in McHenry Library?
Yes, McHenry Library offers various study spaces, including individual study carrels, group study rooms, and a reading room with a view.

7. Does McHenry Library offer research assistance?
Yes, McHenry Library has dedicated librarians and staff who can help with research, finding resources, and using library databases. You can schedule a research consultation appointment for personalized assistance.

8. Are there any events or exhibits held at McHenry Library?
Yes, McHenry Library hosts a range of events, including lectures, exhibitions, and workshops. Check the library’s website for upcoming events and exhibitions.

9. Can I access online databases from McHenry Library?
Yes, members of the University of California, Santa Cruz community can access a wide range of online databases and resources through the university’s library website.

10. Does McHenry Library have a café or food options?
Yes, McHenry Library has a café where you can grab a quick bite or enjoy a cup of coffee. There are also vending machines available for snacks and drinks.

11. Are there any quiet zones in McHenry Library?
Yes, McHenry Library has designated quiet zones where visitors are expected to maintain a quiet atmosphere for studying and research purposes.

12. Can I take a tour of the McHenry Library?
Yes, guided tours of McHenry Library are available for interested groups and visitors. You can contact the library administration to schedule a tour.

13. Is parking available at McHenry Library?
Yes, there is parking available near McHenry Library. Visitors can utilize the campus parking facilities and pay for parking using the pay stations or through the mobile app.

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