High Bay Shelves for Library Storage

high bay library storagePreservation is one of the main goals of archival buildings for library storage. To ensure the longest lifespan possible of stored materials, this space has to be stringently maintained with regard to temperature, humidity, and general environmental factors. However, this space is expensive to maintain and becomes quickly cluttered with materials that staff has difficulty accessing. Steve Story, project manager at Southwest Solutions Group® recommended a unique alternative storage solution to this very problem in the form of a high bay archival system.

Saving Space & Increasing Access

The university library used the annex for their archival storage of books and journals, which was an old building that lacked space. They were also running out of room in the main library space. When students requested an item, it could take days to retrieve.

High bay archival shelving is based off the same systems often seen in industrial warehouses. With shelving that can reach 30 feet high, it utilizes a facility’s vertical air space instead of floor space. In this manner, the concept is very similar to high density shelving on a larger scale with additional considerations made toward preservation of materials. The high density structure allows a high volume-to-area ratio, which means more items are stored in less space—which directly translates to less construction and operational costs. High bay shelving also features insulation, vapor retardance, and a tight structure to prevent air loss, and can be integrated with HVAC and fire suppression systems.

Automation is Secure & Easy to Use

library high bay systemAnd this still hasn’t mentioned the benefits of an automated system. Materials can be stored and organized for easy and fast retrieval. When not in use, the high bay aisles are compacted together to take up half the space of traditional racks and shelves. When a staff member needs an item, they simply push a button on the desired aisle and it will open by itself. Despite their height, the systems are easy and intuitive for anyone to use.

Library staff also needed to be able to quickly find the materials they needed quickly and without sacrificing security. Since the library is not open to the public, all materials are scanned by barcode and need to be accounted for at all times. On the high bay shelves, materials are stored by size on book trays. Each book is barcoded to the specific storage tray, and the tray is then barcoded to the location within the shelving.

Both staff and students are very excited for the new high bay shelving. It’s also allowed them to free up space in the main library for student work centers, computer stations, and lounging areas. When a student requests a book or article, it’s easy for staff to retrieve and pass it off to the student on the same day. Currently, there are 240,000 books and journals loaded into the system and will house 1.5 million items. Even with this huge amount of storage, they have saved so much space that they will eventually eliminate the old annex.

Contact Us for More Info

Southwest Solutions Group provides design and installation services for high bay shelving in applications just like this one. If you’re running out of space for your archival or library storage, we’ll help you design and plan a solution that works for your specific needs. Give us a call at 1-800-803-1083 or send us a message to get started.