Frequently Asked Questions

Has UIC expressed interest in bringing the Obama Presidential Library to its campus?
Yes.  When discussions of the Obama Presidential Library began in mid-2013, UIC committed to the idea of bringing the library to Chicago’s only public research university, which is located only blocks from Chicago’s central business district, within the city’s largest medical district, and adjacent to diverse neighborhoods where residents have benefited from the Obama agenda.
Who decides where a presidential library is located?
The location is chosen by the President and First Lady from a wide range of sites that may be offered throughout the nation.
Why would Chicago be a likely city for the library?
Chicago is where the Obamas chose to settle, where the young community organizer developed his agenda, and where he began his political career. The city’s central location and status as a transportation hub make it easily accessible for visitors from around the country and around the world.
Why would UIC be an appropriate site?
UIC has always been dedicated to the ideals exemplified by the Obama legacy. One of the nation’s top research universities, it is also profoundly committed to serving underrepresented students and communities.

Its $388 million in annual research expenditures have led to advances in medicine, education, and technology; yet many of its students are the first in their families to attend college. As one of the nation’s most diverse campuses, UIC is a microcosm of Chicago and the U.S. Among its 27,500 students, there is no ethnic majority.

Only a research university can further the Obama legacy, and only a university with a public mission can extend that legacy to all who can benefit from it. UIC is dedicated to social justice and creating knowledge that solves real world problems.

How has UIC advanced its bid for the library?
A steering committee was formed in July 2013, consisting of top-level representatives of UIC’s academic, administrative, and facility planning functions. Soon after, subcommittees began to address UIC’s potential contributions in academic programming, library and museum science, and architecture and siting. Finally, a proposal committee looked further into the library’s selection process and how best to participate in it.
How does site selection proceed?
The Barack H. Obama Foundation was established on January 31, 2014, to oversee planning of the library. The foundation announced that it would issue a request for qualifications (RFQ) in February to interested organizations, and a request for proposals (RFP) in May to the most competitive responders.
What does a presidential library offer to the public?
A presidential library preserves papers, records, video and audio recordings, and artifacts that document the lives of the President and his family, associates, and administration. It is a permanent historical resource to researchers, students, journalists and other visitors from around the world.

Presidential libraries spur economic and cultural development throughout communities, creating new jobs and attracting more visitors to the city.

What would UIC offer to the library?
Along with its resources as a public research university with a faculty of 2,400, UIC has identified two land parcels in prime locations just blocks from downtown Chicago and a site in North Lawndale that could be made available for the library, museum and other auxiliary facilities.
Who will pay for the library?
Presidential libraries are built with private and non-federal funds. Foundations such as the Barack H. Obama Foundation are established to organize fund-raising and to oversee construction. When a library is completed, the foundation turns it over to the National Archives and Records Administration for operation and maintenance.

Read more information about presidential libraries online.