The Newberry Lobby
The lobby has been restored to its original 1893 grandeur, with exquisite Romanesque details for all to enjoy. An art-nouveau chandelier (a replica of the original) graces the 20-foot ceiling. The original light fixture was installed shortly after the building’s completion, highlighting the advanced technology of the electric light bulb, only recently made popular at the World’s Fair: Columbian Exposition.
The broad marble staircase, complemented by its ornate banister, is the focal point of the space. A Steinway grand piano is available for your enjoyment. Votive candles in hallways and staircase window alcoves add a touch of romantic ambiance. Accommodating up to 208 for exclusive events while our building is closed, or up to 175 for social hours while our building is open, this space is perfect for cocktail receptions and small dinner parties.
During the hours that our building is closed, the lobby can be transformed: we remove the standard library information signs, security kisok, and security perimeter, creating a stunning open floor plan that can be set up in many different ways. Regardless of how you choose to configure the space, hosting your event in the lobby is always exciting for your guests. The space can be easily dressed with cocktail tables in color coordinating linens and florals, but can also be further enhanced with uplighting, or more extensive decor, depending on the needs of the event.
In addition to a beautiful backdrop for your social hour, the lobby can serve as a lovely space suitable for intimate seated events or dinner parties. Certain weekends of the year, when Ruggles Hall is not available for rental due to our Annual Book Fair, exclusive rental of the Newberry and lobby for dinner events are discounted; please inquire for further information about these dates and discounted rental rates.
Throughout the year, the Newberry provides multiple exhibition galleries as venues for Newberry Exhibitions that bring our world-class collection to life. Whenever possible, the Newberry offers your guests entry and viewing of our exhibits during your cocktail hour. Major exhibitions of the recent past have included Home Front: Daily Life in the Civil War North, The Aztecs and the Making of Colonial Mexico, and Make Big Plans: Daniel Burnham’s Vision of an American Metropolis.