Library Storage Checks Out Space Saving Solutions

By Stuffey | September 18, 2018

Just a decade ago a library’s main claim to fame was the volume of books on its shelves. But with the evolution of digital titles and the movement towards repurposed space, libraries are having to adapt. People want to be able to relax and collaborate in open spaces while still enjoying ready access to a wealth of information (print and digital). Space saving solutions for library storage can help.

High-Density Library Storage

Libraries today need more meeting spaces and places where patrons can connect and access electronic devices. Yet the materials libraries collect remain essential. Libraries require creative storage solutions; sometimes even new alliances with others to make a library storage solution efficient and affordable.

When Atlanta’s Emory University and the Georgia Institute of Technology (GIT) separately found that their library spaces weren’t adequate, they worked together to create an off-campus space. GIT moved nearly 95 percent of its collection to the Library Service Center between the two university campuses, while Emory moved more than 1.2 million of its own materials to the space, which utilizes High-Bay Shelving reaching 32 feet in height and stretching nearly 200 feet long.

By housing much of their combined collections offsite, both freed up valuable campus square footage. At the same time, the universities also doubled the volume of their collections by gaining access to the peer institution’s holdings too.

Even without a new partnership with neighboring institutions, libraries can reclaim space and improve access to materials with smart storage solutions. When the College of Charleston’s (CoC) library needed to accommodate a gift of the South Carolina Historic Society’s collection of research papers and documents, it had to do so without increasing its shelving footprint.

Removing static shelving and turning instead to high-density mobile shelving storage, the CoC library enlarged its capacity for manuscript storage and gained an additional 200 seats for students, allowing for easy access to power outlets for computers and other personal devices. “We decided on mobile shelving to help us maximize capacity and open up space, and it’s been hugely successful on both fronts,” said Claire Fund, the library’s Director of Administrative Services.

Special Collections Storage

Libraries today also hold much more than shelves of printed books and periodicals. Take the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum on Ohio State University’s Columbus campus. When the world’s largest collection of cartoon and comic art grew out of its 6,000 square foot space and moved into a 30,000 new gallery, it embraced smart library storage solutions such as:

  • compact shelving
  • book storage for monographs and serials
  • customized pull-out art displays
  • modular drawers for over-sized items and items that needed to be laid flat.

Not every library gets to grow its footprint so massively though. The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra’s Library wanted to find more room in its 1,100 square feet. With a mechanical assist (MA) high-density storage solution it was able to repurpose its space to hold its sizable music library holdings more harmoniously. “It’s a much more efficient library in terms of its workflow and the storage capabilities that we have now,” said head librarian Rebecca Beavers. “It’s the same space but better utilized.”

Library storage also hit the right note for the Benjamin F. Ward Music Library at the UNC School of the Arts in Winston-Salem. Its already expansive collection of sound recordings, DVD/VHS recordings and music scores was always growing but space was at a premium. When moving to the fourth floor of the university’s Semans Library, the librarians worked with storage solution experts to adequately store library archives and create ample capacity (including adequate depth) for collected materials. The new storage not only protects the existing collection but remains open to the possibility of accepting future gifts without the anxiety of “where do we put it?”

Key Takeaway

The right library storage solution will help eliminate non-productive space while also storing more in less floor space. The types of shelving available can accommodate any item regardless of its size, weight, or shape,protect or preserve all formats of materials, and accommodate patrons need for open spaces and bright libraries while continuing to display multimedia or periodicals.

Offering high-density storage solutions — including stationary or powered mobile, mechanical assist mobile, and manual mobile — as well as off-site mobile storage and other specialized solutions, Patterson Pope can help your library turn the page to a new space saving look. Contact one of our library storage experts today.


About Stuffey

To say that Stuffey was made for this role would be an understatement. A life long hoarder, Stuffey understands how the Laws of Stuff can wreak havoc in the real world of an organization’s space. Now as part of his reformation, he is committed to passing on to you his secrets in our battle against the tyranny of STUFF.

See more posts by Stuffey

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *