Agnola Wetzel

Agnola Wetzel

Published: 23 Sep 2023


The Van Pelt Library is a renowned landmark that holds a treasured place in the hearts of both students and bookworms alike. With its imposing structure and vast collection of books, it stands as a testament to the power of knowledge and the pursuit of intellectual growth. But beyond its facade lies a world of fascinating facts and hidden gems that many may not be aware of. In this article, we will delve into 17 surprising facts about the Van Pelt Library that will leave you amazed and eager to explore this iconic institution further. From its architectural marvels to its unique literary treasures, get ready to discover the many facets of this remarkable library.

Table of Contents

The Van Pelt Library is the main library at the University of Pennsylvania.

The Van Pelt Library, located in the heart of the University of Pennsylvania campus, serves as the central hub for research, learning, and collaboration. With its impressive collection and state-of-the-art facilities, it has become an essential resource for students, faculty, and researchers.

The library was designed by renowned architect Robert Venturi.

The Van Pelt Library is not only a functional space but also an architectural masterpiece. Designed by the renowned architect Robert Venturi, it showcases his unique postmodern style, with its iconic façade and innovative interior layout.

It was named after George Wharton Pepper.

The Van Pelt Library is named after George Wharton Pepper, a distinguished alumnus and trustee of the University of Pennsylvania. Pepper was a prominent lawyer, politician, and philanthropist, known for his dedication to education and the arts.

The library houses over 4 million volumes.

With its vast collection of books, manuscripts, journals, and digital resources, the Van Pelt Library offers a wealth of knowledge to its patrons. Whether you are conducting research, studying for exams, or exploring new subjects, you are bound to find the information you need within its extensive shelves.

It is home to rare and unique materials.

Within the walls of the Van Pelt Library lie treasures of knowledge that cannot be found elsewhere. The library houses a remarkable collection of rare books, manuscripts, and artifacts, including a Gutenberg Bible, early printed editions, and historical documents of great significance.

The library offers innovative digital resources.

In addition to its physical collection, the Van Pelt Library provides access to a wide range of digital resources. From online databases to e-books and digital archives, students and researchers can delve into the vast realm of digital knowledge from the comfort of their own devices.

It provides specialized research support.

The Van Pelt Library understands the needs of researchers and scholars, offering a variety of specialized research support services. Whether you need assistance with citation management, data analysis, or finding rare resources, the dedicated library staff is there to help you navigate the complex world of academic research.

The library has unique study spaces.

Studying at the Van Pelt Library is an experience in itself. From quiet study rooms and collaborative workspaces to beautiful reading areas with panoramic views, the library offers a diverse range of spaces that cater to different learning styles and preferences.

It hosts engaging events and exhibitions.

Far from being just a repository of knowledge, the Van Pelt Library is a vibrant community hub. It regularly hosts a variety of events, exhibitions, and workshops, bringing together scholars, authors, and artists from diverse fields and fostering intellectual and creative exchange.

The library offers interlibrary loan services.

If a book or resource is not available within the Van Pelt Library’s collection, fear not. The library offers interlibrary loan services, allowing patrons to request materials from other libraries around the world. This enables users to access a wider range of resources and expand their research horizons.

It has a dedicated space for rare book conservation.

The Van Pelt Library houses a specialized conservation lab, where expert conservators work tirelessly to preserve and restore rare books and manuscripts. This ensures that these valuable materials are protected for future generations to study and appreciate.

The library is a haven for bibliophiles.

If you have a deep love for books, you will feel right at home in the Van Pelt Library. Its serene atmosphere, vast collection, and knowledgeable staff create the perfect environment for bibliophiles to indulge in their passion for literature and learning.

It offers resources in multiple languages.

The Van Pelt Library recognizes the importance of diversity and inclusivity in knowledge acquisition. It provides resources in various languages, allowing students and researchers from different cultural backgrounds to explore topics in their native tongues.

The library has an extensive digital humanities program.

As technology continues to shape the world of academia, the Van Pelt Library is at the forefront of the digital humanities movement. Through its digital humanities program, it offers support for innovative projects that combine traditional research with cutting-edge digital tools and methodologies.

It has a dedicated space for group collaborations.

The Van Pelt Library understands the value of collaboration in the learning process. It provides dedicated spaces where groups can come together to work on projects, discuss ideas, and engage in meaningful collaboration.

The library offers 24/7 access during certain periods.

During peak study times, such as exams or finals week, the Van Pelt Library extends its hours to provide students with 24/7 access. This ensures that students have ample time to prepare, study, and access the resources they need, regardless of the time of day.

It is a center for academic support services.

The Van Pelt Library goes beyond its role as a repository of knowledge. It also serves as a central hub for academic support services, offering tutoring, writing assistance, and study skill workshops to help students succeed in their academic endeavors.


From its unique architectural design to its vast collection of resources, Van Pelt Library is truly a remarkable landmark. Whether you are a student, researcher, or simply a lover of books, this library is a treasure trove of knowledge waiting to be explored. With its commitment to serving the University of Pennsylvania community and beyond, it is no wonder that Van Pelt Library has become a beloved institution for scholars and book enthusiasts alike. So, next time you find yourself in Philadelphia, be sure to pay a visit to this iconic library and discover the wonders it has to offer.


1. What are the operating hours of Van Pelt Library?

The library is open Monday to Friday from 9:00 am to 10:00 pm, and on weekends from 10:00 am to 10:00 pm.

2. Can I access Van Pelt Library if I am not a student or affiliated with the University of Pennsylvania?

Yes, the library is open to the public, and visitors are welcome to explore its collections and utilize the available resources.

3. Are there study spaces available in Van Pelt Library?

Absolutely! The library offers a variety of study spaces, including individual study carrels, group study rooms, and comfortable seating areas.

4. Can I borrow books from Van Pelt Library?

Yes, borrowing privileges are available to University of Pennsylvania students, faculty, and staff members. Non-affiliated visitors can use the resources within the library but cannot borrow items.

5. Does Van Pelt Library offer any digitized collections?

Yes, the library has an extensive digital repository, providing access to a wide range of digitized materials, including books, manuscripts, photographs, and more.