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Oak Street High Density Storage

Oak Street High Density Storage opened as on October 29, 2004 and primarily houses items with low circulation history.

As the high-density storage facility for the University Library, the Oak Street Library has the unique role of maximizing preservation of the over four million items it houses, while simultaneously shelving them efficiently. The vaults that house the collection are climate controlled by a state-of-the-art system to maintain the environment at 50° Fahrenheit and 30% humidity to preserve the variety of resources held. Items in the Oak Street Library are sorted and separated by size to assure efficient use of space, are accessed through a special inventory program, and retrieved for patron use and collection management projects by certified staff harnessed into industrial lifts to access the forty-foot high shelving.

By sending items with low circulation statistics to Oak Street Library, the University Library is opening up more space for patrons to work individually or collaboratively in their information seeking endeavors. Although these volumes have moved their location, patrons will still have access to desired materials after requesting items through the Library’s online catalog.

As of 2017, more than four million items have been transferred to Oak Street Library.



How do users know if an item is shelved at Oak Street High Density Storage?

All items shelved at the Oak Street Library have a full bibliographic record in the Library’s online catalog and the location is clearly designated, along with the note “Request Only.”

Many of the materials held at the Oak Street Library are also available digitally.


How do users access materials shelved at Oak Street High Density Storage?

Due to the nature of the high-density shelving arrangements at Oak Street Library, users are not able to browse materials at the shelf.

Many of the materials held at Oak Street are also available digitally.

Library users can place requests for items via the Library’s online catalog, and designate either a specific library pick-up location or ask to have the material delivered to their office via campus mail.

Please see Requesting Materials from Oak Street Library for details.


What kinds of materials are shelved at Oak Street High Density Storage and how are they selected?

Each individual library unit creates its own set of criteria with which to select volumes that are to be stored in OSLF.  Common methods for selection include analyzing circulation rates based on the last date an item was checked out, the availability of electronic formats, and identifying duplicate copies of items within other library units.


How are materials stored at Oak Street High Density Storage?

“High-density” describes the particular type of shelving and shelving arrangement used to accommodate considerably more material than could possibly be housed on regular library shelving or even in moveable, compact shelving. Rather than being shelved in call number order, materials of like size are placed in trays that are shelved on 40-foot high racks of industrial shelving. An item’s location on the shelves is tracked through a special inventory program by barcode. To retrieve items from these industrial shelving units, Oak Street staff determine where each piece is located based on its barcode and then use a lift to access the appropriate location.


Where is the Oak Street Library?

The Oak Street Library is located at 809 S. Oak Street near the intersection of Oak and Daniel Streets. This location is approximately 8 blocks from the Main Library.


More information about the Oak Street Library can be found on our homepage.


Have other research libraries built similar high density storage facilities?

Links to other universities’ high-density storage facilities:

Binghamton University (SUNY) – Library Annex

Brown University – Library Collections Annex

California State University, Northridge – Automated Storage and Retrieval System

Carleton University – Storage Facility

Chicago State University – Retrieval Online Via Electronic Robot

Cornell University – Library Annex

Duke University – Library Service Center

Eastern Michigan University – Automated Retrieval Collection

Florida Academic Repository

Harvard Depository

Indiana University – Ruth Lilly Auxiliary Library Facility

Library of Congress – Offsite Storage

Library Service Center of Emory University and Georgia Tech

Minnesota Library Access Center

North Carolina State University – Hunt Library

OhioLINK Regional Depositories

Preservation and Access Service Center for Colorado Academic Libraries

Research Collections and Preservation Consortium (New York)

Rice University – Library Service Center

Santa Clara University – Automated Retrieval System

Sonoma State University – Automated Retrieval System

Stanford University – Stanford Auxiliary Library 3

Syracuse University Libraries Facility

University at Buffalo (SUNY) – Libraries Annex

University of Alberta – Research & Collections Resource Facility

University of British Columbia – Library Preservation and Archives

University of Calgary – High Density Library

University of California Regional Library Facilities:

University of Chicago – Automated Storage and Retrieval System

University of Kansas – Library Annex

University of Louisville – Robotic Retrieval System

University of Maryland – Severn Library

University of Missouri Libraries Depository

University of Nebraska-Lincoln – Library Depository Retrieval Facility

University of Nevada, Reno – Mathewson Automated Retrieval System

University of North Carolina – Library Service Center

University of Ottawa – Off-Campus Storage

University of Pennsylvania – Libraries Research Annex

University of Pittsburgh – Thomas Blvd. Library

University of South Carolina – Library Annex and Conservation Facility

University of Toronto at Downsview

University of Wisconsin-Madison – Verona Shelving Facility

University of Wyoming – Library Annex

Utah State University – Borrower’s Automated Retrieval Network

Virginia Tech University – Library Service Center

Washington Research Library Consortium – Shared Collections Facility

West Virginia University – Libraries Depository

Yale University – Library Shelving Facility