Geisel Library
The Geisel Library is the main library building on the University of California, San Diego campus and contains four of the nine libraries located on campus. It is home to the Arts Library (newly merged in July 2008 from the Art & Architecture and Music, Film & Video Libraries) (ARTS), the Mandeville Special Collections Library (SPEC), the Science & Engineering Library (S&E), and the Social Sciences & Humanities Library (SSHL). The building is named in honor of Audrey and Theodor Seuss Geisel (better known as Dr. Seuss) for the generous contributions they have made to the library and their devotion to improving literacy. The Geisels were long-time residents of La Jolla, where UC San Diego is located. The building is featured in the UCSD logo and is the most recognizable building on campus. It is located in the center of the campus with Library Walk to its south, Thurgood Marshall College to its West and Earl Warren College to its East. The library was simply called the "Central Library" until a renovation was completed in 1993. The library was rededicated as the University Library Building. It was renamed the Geisel Library Building in 1995.

The distinctive original building was designed in the late 1960s by William Pereira to sit at the head of a canyon. Considering the location, Pereira originally conceived of a spherical building resting atop a pedestal, with the structural elements on the inside. After several drafts of this ball-shaped design, the structural elements were deemed as being too space-consuming, and they were moved to the outside of the structure, essentially resulting in the current "lantern" design. Pereira envisioned that future additions to the original building would form terraced levels around the tower base descending into the canyon. The tower is a prime example of brutalist architecture. It rises 8 stories to a height of 110 ft (33.5 m). The four upper stories of the tower itself house the SSHL and East Asia collections. A photo of the building taken by Julius Shulman was used as the cover image for James Steele's chronicle of Pereira's career, called simply William Pereira. The Library Addition, designed by Gunnar Birkerts in the early 1990s, was "deliberately designed to be subordinated to the strong, geometrical form of the existing library." Within its two subterranean levels are the other library sections as well as study spaces and computer labs.

Entryway (Read/Write/Think/Dream)
The entryway of the library is the site of an art installation by John Baldessari titled "Read/Write/Think/Dream." The installation includes the front doors of colored glass that overlap when they open, the benches in the lobby, and images of students, books, pens, pencils and palm trees on the glass panels of the lobby.

Third floor
One unusual feature of the library is that the lower levels are numbered 1 and 2, and the upper floors numbered 4 through 8. This has given rise to several fanciful explanations for why the third floor is apparently sealed off and not accessible from elevators or steps. One of the more popular stories is that the building's design had not taken into account the eventual weight of books in the library, so the third floor has of necessity been left empty. This is a common urban legend, associated at different times with many other university libraries. In reality, the "missing" third floor is actually the open/outside forum. There is no other third floor, blocked off or otherwise. It is simply reinforced concrete and an emergency exit that helps students from the 4-8 floors get out without having to go to the second floor.

Pop culture references
  • The TV series Simon & Simon featured the library in its opening credits.
  • Geisel Library made an appearance as the exterior of a research lab in Killer Tomatoes Strike Back , the third movie in the cult film series Attack of the Killer Tomatoes.
  • The science fiction novel Rainbows End includes a major subplot focusing on the library.
  • Referred to as the "Chatky Headquarters in Kyoto" in a Kohler commercial.
  • The 2004 film Funky Monkey features several scenes filmed in and on the grounds of the library.
  • Used in the film "The Proud American" (shooting date 2/17/08)
  • The TV series Mission: Impossible featured the library in the last episode filmed (The Pendulum) as the "World Resources Ltd." headquarters. (aired 2/23/73)
  • Opening sequence of Veronica Mars episode from 11/29/06, filmed at the Warren Mall of UCSD and featuring shots of various landmarks, including Geisel Library.
  • The 2010 film Inception has a snow fortress that is very similar in structure to Geisel.


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