Frequently Asked Questions about the Library’s High-Density Shelving Facility
In September 2003, construction began on the Library’s new high-density shelving facility, which will be located on Oak Street in Champaign . The first module, to be completed this fall, will house two million volumes and ease crowded conditions in the Main Library and departmental libraries. Additional modules will be built over the next ten years, providing space for up to eight million volumes. The following information answers many questions about the new facility.
What is the high-density shelving facility and where will it be located?
The facility primarily will house items that are used less frequently. “High-density” describes the type of shelving and shelving arrangement, which will accommodate more material than can be housed on regular library shelving. Items will be shelved by size and tracked through a special inventory program that interfaces with the Library’s online catalog. The facility will be located near the intersection of Oak and Daniel Streets, approximately eight blocks from the Main Library.
Why is this facility necessary?
The Main Library bookstacks and many of the departmental libraries are severely overcrowded. Building an addition to the existing bookstacks would be prohibitively expensive and provide limited growth space for the collections. The Oak Street facility is less costly to build, and its modular design allows for expansion every few years.
Have other research libraries built similar facilities?
Other libraries with similar facilities include Harvard, Duke, Cornell, Columbia , Michigan , Indiana , Stanford, and Yale. While the Harvard Depository is now about twenty years old, most other facilities have been built within the last five to eight years.
What kinds of materials will be shelved there and how will they be selected?
Materials are selected based on criteria developed by the Library’s subject bibliographers, often in consultation with teaching faculty. While the criteria may vary somewhat by discipline, the most common are low frequency of use, availability of electronic equivalents, and existence of duplicate copies elsewhere on campus. Materials in the bookstacks that have been designated for eventual transfer are flagged with yellow and orange streamers; faculty are welcome to request that specific materials be retained.
How will users know if an item is shelved at the Oak Street facility?
All items shelved at the facility will have a full bibliographic record in the Library’s online catalog with the Oak Street location clearly designated.
How will users access materials shelved at the facility?
Due to the shelving arrangement, users will not be able to browse materials. Otherwise, the collection will be accessed like any other library collection on campus. Users will be able to place requests for items via the Library’s online catalog and designate either a specific pick-up location or direct delivery through campus mail. It will take no longer to request and receive materials than it does now from any of the campus libraries. Some brittle or rare materials may be restricted as “Building Use Only,” but in these instances, the item can be delivered to any one of the campus libraries for onsite use.
Will the new facility be open to the public?
The building will have a public reading room where users can peruse long journal runs or use restricted items. For the most part, however, users should access the collection remotely and request that materials be delivered to a preferred library pick-up location or to their offices. Users who wish to consult materials on site will save time by making arrangements ahead of time. A small amount of metered public parking will be available.