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The utility of your local college or university library is changing! There is a shift that is affecting not only the services offered to patrons but also the space available for collections. Libraries are no longer the place for research, browsing, studying, or quiet reflection. In order to create room for more educational requirements and ever-changing media formats, libraries have had to add spaces such as video rooms, writing and tutoring centers, meeting places, and even internet cafes for their ever-demanding students and faculty. While all this is happening, their collections continue to grow resulting in libraries running out of room for the traditional printed medium.
Attempts to trim down the size of these collections by culling or scanning have had limited success, and are not realistic or attractive for many institutions. Building additional spaces at the library – even if funding is available – is often impossible, for libraries and research centers are often land-locked in the middle of campus. Therefore, libraries need to find innovative and cost sensible ways of storage, without giving up services.
One common approach to battle this situation is to build storage space exclusively for materials that are rarely requested. Another approach includes installing high-density mobile shelving or automated storage and retrieval systems (ASRS) within the existing library, or even building or leasing large-scale, climate-controlled off-site repositories. Storage options in these off-site buildings often include fixed shelving systems, mezzanines or static high-bay storage systems. An emerging solution includes the concept pictured in this blog, involving compact movable shelving systems (Mobile High-Bay). A solution that could significantly reduce the collection space required as well as the size of the building. A smaller building has lower construction costs and as well as lower life-cycle expenses of heating, cooling, and lighting.
In summary, space-starved libraries must meet a balance between the need for more room for people and collections and the need to maintain a high level of service, all while maintaining their institutional objectives, such as the desire for green buildings and holding down costs. These are complicated issues facing libraries today, which will require a good understanding of the variety of solutions available to them in order to effectively manage collections.
Learn more about the challenges that libraries are facing today. Download and read the whitepaper entitled, “Running Out of Room”, by Mark Haubenschild; and check out the brochure on the XTend™ Mobile High-bay storage option!
Also, see video of XTend™ Mobile High-bay system in action!
Ronald Chisholm, P.E. – Storage Specialist
Download Whitepaper and XTend™ brochure!