Earlier this summer, the Penn Libraries opened the Moelis Family Grand Reading Room – a modern, beautiful, and functional space in the tradition of the Fisher Fine Arts Library reading room. The room, on the eastern side of the first floor of the Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center, is a response to growing demand across the University for more spaces that are strategically designed to encourage individual work and help users reach the heights of their independent study.

“The Penn Libraries of today have very successfully undergone a transformative shift over the last few decades toward enabling active, collaborative activity,” says Carton Rogers, Vice Provost and Director of Libraries. “We are proud to have applied the same thoughtful, strategic evolution to quiet study space by respecting the cultural context of academic reading rooms while implementing modern design that merges function and beauty to create the Moelis Family Grand Reading Room.”

The Moelis Family Grand Reading Room takes advantage of the two-story windows to create a soaring interior that promotes a motivating sense of community among users and features informed design gestures including a mixture of tables and soft-seating with endless connectivity for today’s student or researcher. The installation of the breathtaking and sound-attenuating wool-and-silk art wall, Fields of Transformation by Dutch artist Claudy Jongstra, helps preserve the stillness of the room for its users’ complete focus to separate the space from the rest of the building. Additional highlights include the Class of 1977 Walnut Street Bay and the Class of 1992 College Green Porch, which visually connect the space to the campus landscape. The Moelis Family Grand Reading Room serves as an excellent complement to the highly utilized collaborative working spaces at Van Pelt-Dietrich Library and around campus.

The room was named in honor of Herb Moelis, W’53, PAR’78, PAR’80, PAR’82, on the occasion of his 85th birthday with a gift from the Moelis family.