A major restoration of the exterior of the Love Library cupola will begin on May 16.

Shining bright on campus and downtown Lincoln since the Love Library opened in 1943, the iconic structure has been regularly featured in University of Nebraska-Lincoln photos, publications, and websites. With regular maintenance, the structure has endured nearly 80 years of harsh Nebraska weather and solar conditions. It was the last renovated in summer 2012.

Brent Morgan, Libraries Facilities Coordinator, said the intent of the project is to restore the campus icon using modern materials better suited to withstand Nebraska’s dynamic climate.

“The funds for the restoration project are part of the LB384 maintenance funding and the plan is to replace rotting wood, windows and paint the cupola roof,” Morgan said.

The project will take 10 to 12 weeks. A crane will be used during the first and last week, allowing the installation and removal of scaffolding. Mats will be laid on the south lawn to reduce damage while the crane is in place. Additionally, the southeast sidewalk and entrance facing R Street will be inaccessible while the crane is on site.

A covered walkway will run east to west along the south side of the Love Library to accommodate pedestrian traffic for most of the project. The works may cause an increase in noise at the upper levels of the library.

To preserve the structure’s history, pieces of the dome’s wooden exterior will be preserved by the University Archives and Special Collections.

University Libraries are also working to capture a series of photographs and videos from inside the cupola. The interior, which will not be affected by the restoration, features signatures and handwritten messages from staff, students and others who have visited the space during the cupola’s nearly 80-year history.

One of the earliest marks is dated 1943, the year the Love Library opened as a temporary barracks for cadets in the Army’s Specialty Training Program. Watch a video (above) of Erin Colonna, a graphic designer at University Libraries, climbing into the cupola to photograph the objects on the walls.

University libraries plan to share more information and photographs about the dome in an online exhibit. Details will be announced.

University Facilities Planning and Construction is leading the restoration in conjunction with attached Paul Davis Restoration as general contractor.