August 8, 2013 Meeting of Library Staff Support Committee

Time and Location of Meeting

August 8, 2013

Agenda Details


Agenda not yet available.

Minutes Details


Becky Burner, Jim Cotter, Douglas Heintz, Debora Pfeiffer, Danielle Postula, Laura Poulosky, Barb Trumpinski, Julie Watkins


Tour of Oak St. Facility:

This month Andy Cougill gave us a tour of the Oak St. facility’s high-density storage areas and Henry Hebert showed us around the Conservation Lab there.  Here are a few highlights we learned and saw on the tour:

High-Density Storage—

While the number varies greatly, a rough average of the number of requests for retrievals of materials from Oak St. is 100-130 per day.  Retrievals are done twice a day, before the morning and afternoon shipping goes out, with the goal of a less than 24-hour turn-around before the placement of a request and its shipment.

Oak St. has an equivalent of four full-time staff members.

Everything at Oak St. is identified and retrieved uniquely by barcode.  Sometimes barcodes fall off in transit and are replaced by new barcodes, so it’s important not to delete the old barcode from Voyager when adding a new one, as the old barcode may still provide an important clue to the location of an item.

There has been increasing communication between the administrators of our Oak St. facility and other high-density storage facilities in the area, such as Indiana University, in order to share strategies for increased efficiency of time and space usage.  Our Oak St. facility is in amongst the top in size and efficiency in university high-density storage facilities.

At the current rate at which Oak St. is being filled, it is estimated that its present capacity will be reached in about 6 to 8 years, at which point more storage would be needed.

Shelving at Oak St. reaches a height of 40 feet, or 30 feet in the compact shelving area.  The temperature is kept at 50 degrees and the humidity at 30% year-round.  Because the materials are packed so tightly together, once they reach those temperature and humidity levels they remain at those levels for a long time, even if the HVAC system should be off for a while.

The goal for selecting items for transfer to Oak St. should be to send items that will not circulate much, if at all.  If an item circulates more than a certain number (yet to be determined) of times a year, it shouldn’t really be at Oak St.; it should be more readily available to patrons.  Approximately 96% of the 3.25 million items housed at Oak St. have not circulated from there, which is actually a good thing.

Conservation Laboratory—

 A well-equipped Conservation Lab is housed on the upper level of the Oak St. building, where items are stabilized either for storage or for return for immediate use by researchers.

There is a photo-documentation area where pictures are taken of items before and after they have been treated.  Repairs are supposed to be reversible and to blend in with the item’s original look, but not to be completely undetectable, since that would compromise the authenticity of the item’s history.  A large light table is used to better see tears when mending books so that the mending blends into the original piece as well as possible.

The book-binding repair lab is stocked with a variety of colors of book cloth, leathers, and papers.  It also holds items for matting and framing items and plexi-glass for making book cradles to exhibit books.

There is a book freezer for safely drying wet books as well as a fume hood for vacuuming off mold.  Disaster recovery materials to protect workers and books are packaged and ready to go if needed.

There is a separate room with a high fire-safety rating for housing valuable materials before they are returned to their libraries of origin, which includes a fire safe for the most valuable items.

Staff and graduate assistants have tables and chairs with adjustable heights to facilitate working on projects as comfortably and efficiently as possible.

Statistics are kept on how long it has taken to perform each repair.