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Profiles of Academic Library Storage Facility Management Strategies

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  • April 2019
  • Region: Global
  • Primary Research Group
  • ID: 4767231

The study profiles the efforts of the following institutions to develop and manage storage facilities:  The Research Collection and Preservations Consortium (ReCAP) whose members include Princeton University, Columbia University, New York Public Library, and Harvard University; the University of Iowa, Iowa City; Williams College; Western Michigan University; and Liberty University.

This carefully composed study is designed to take its readers directly into the planning and management process of the universities profiled, granting hard to find insights into staffing, storage item selection criteria, item tracking and cataloging, warehouse organization, temperature/climate control, technology use and vendor management, library worker safety, work flows and productivity - and other issues in the development and management of both onsite and offsite storage facilities for academic libraries.  Survey participants relate their triumphs but also point out what they would have done differently, and how other libraries can learn from their experience.

The report was written by Kathleen Lehman and Lori Lennertz. Kathleen Lehman has been the Head of User Services at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville Libraries since July 2015; Lora Lennertz is the Data Services Librarian at the University of Arkansas where she has worked in various capacities since 1991 including Head of Access Services, Preservation Librarian, Performing Arts and Media Librarian and Director for Academic and Research Services.

In addition to the five profiles, the authors provide personal commentary and a timely and useful bibliography to facilitate further research.

The 54-page study helps its readers to answer questions such as: How many FTE or part time workers staff academic library storage facilities?  What are typical turnaround times for patron requests and how have turnaround times been reduced?  What are the selection criteria for items included in storage?  How are items inspected and reviewed before inclusion in storage?

Table of Contents

About the Authors   


Recent Historical Changes in How Academic Libraries Store Non-Core Collections   

  • The Emergence of Off-Site Storage   
  • Harvard’s New Method for Storing Library Materials Borrows Concepts from the Warehousing Industry   
  • The Implications of High Density Shelving and How to Research Them   
  • Special Areas of Concern with High Density Storage Facilities   
  • The Uniqueness of Each Library’s Situation and the Selection of Case Studies for this Report   


The Research Collections and Preservation Consortium   

  • Nature of the Consortium   
  • The Consortium Storage Facility’s Location and Dimensions   

Temperature Conditions & Security in the Storage Facility   
Planning and General Operations of the Facility   

  • Criteria for the Selection of Materials for the Facility   
  • Means of Transporting Materials to the Facility   
  • Cataloging and Discovery   
  • Personnel and Distribution of Staff Tiime   
  • How Document Requests are Fulfilled   
  • Means of Tracking Inventory Departing from the Facility   
  • Tracking Usage and Billing the Partners for Storage and Document Delivery   
  • Uses for the Library Space Opened up by Use of the Facility  

Prospects for the Future   
University of Iowa, Iowa City   

  • Brief Description of the University of Iowa   
  • Impact on Storage Decisions of the great Iowa Flood of 2008   
  • Criteria for Selecting Materials to Move to the Storage Annex   
  • Logistics of Physically Moving Items   
  • Nature of the Review of Library Materials to Move; Item Cleaning, Record Improvement and Barcoding   
  • The Organization and Physical Dimensions of the Storage Annex   
  • The Use of Alma for Physical Inventory Tracking in the Annex   
  • The Annex Staff and Hours of Operation   
  • Means of Fulfilling Patron Requests for Items Stored in the Annex   
  • Physically Retrieving Item from the Annex “Stacks”   
  • Routing and Delivery of Requested Items   
  • Temperature Controls for Annex Storage Spaces   
  • Statistics on What Goes In and What Comes Out   

Future Plans   
Williams College   

  • Description of Williams College   
  • Beginnings of the Library Shelving Facility   
  • Dimensions of the Library Storage Facility   
  • Tracking and Records Management   
  • Staffing & Personnel   
  • Fulfillment & Document Delivery   
  • Statistics & Activity Tracking   
  • Plans for the Future   
  • Western Michigan University   
  • Description of Western Michigan University   
  • History of the Development of the Library Storage Facilities in East Hall   
  • Earmarking Collections and Materials for the New Storage Facility   
  • The Transport of Library Materials to the New Facility   
  • Scanning Materials and Assignment to Shelves   
  • Dimensions of the Storage Space and the Shelving   
  • Capacity Utilization of the Storage Facility   
  • Security Measures, Temperature Controls and Internal Climate   
  • Flexible Uses of Non-Storage Space and Hours of Operation   
  • Staffing   
  • How Materials are Containerized, Wrapped or Rolled and Shelved   
  • Patron Requests and Fulfillment   
  • Usage Statistics   

Liberty University   
Description of Liberty University   

  • A New Storage Facility Housed in a New Main Library Building   
  • Liberty University Libraries’ ASRS Library Materials System   
  • Dimensions of the Storage Space   
  • Criteria for Inclusion in Accessible Storage or the Immediately Circulating Collection   
  • Rate of Returning Articles from the Stored to the Immediately Circulating Collection   
  • Preparations for the Move of Materials into the ASRS Storage Area   
  • Types of Materials Stored in the ASRS   
  • Staffing the ASRS/Hours of Operation   
  • Mechanics of Fulfilling Patron Requests for Items in Storage   
  • Fulfillment of Document Delivery Requests   
  • Need for Frequent Equipment Review and Space/Equipment Configuration Issues   
  • Collections Stored in 1/7th of Space Needed for Traditional Collections   

Discussion and conclusion   

  • What Survey Participants Would Have Done Differently if they Could Develop Their Storage Systems Anew   
  • Time Frame for Review of Items to be Stored   
  • Caution in the Development of Long Range Estimates of Storage Needs   
  • Logistics of the Placement of Items in the Storage Facility and Its Impact on Patron Request Turnaround Time   
  • Maximizing the Use of Space   
  • The Often Forgotten Paramount Importance of Worker Safety   
  • Reading the Literature and Visiting Other Library Storage Sites   




Companies Mentioned

  • Columbia University
  • Harvard University
  • Iowa City
  • Liberty University
  • New York Public Library
  • Princeton University
  • The Research Collection
  • The University of Iowa
  • Western Michigan University
  • Williams College