compact shelving in librariesLibraries are more than just a place to borrow books; they’re also a cornerstone of most communities and educational facilities. People now visit libraries to apply for jobs, attend meetings, partake in study sessions, or participate in children’s activities.

These new activities and meetings increase your need for flexible space. It is no longer practical to have shelving on every square inch of a library’s floor; patrons need room to spread out and take part in everything your library has to offer.

While floor space is needed for various events and meetings, you still need to store an ever-growing special collection. You can find anything from videos and DVDs to oversized items like maps and drawings to archival boxes in today’s libraries. Maintaining all of this media increases your need for practical and efficient storage solutions.

Just as libraries have evolved, so has the appropriate storage shelving. We believe in safer and smarter storage, so we almost always recommend compact library shelving.

What Is Compact Shelving in Libraries?

bookstack lighting library shelvingCompact shelving is the ideal solution for libraries with a growing media collection but decreasing floor space. This shelving allows you to safely organize and store everything from books to art collections while freeing up valuable square footage.

Library compact book stack shelving works well for libraries because it houses books, journals, computer media, magazines, and more in a convenient way. Because the shelving compacts together when not in use, it frees up space for things like computer stations, meeting areas, and children’s reading rooms. 

Adjustable library and display shelving are also used in library settings. This type of shelving is flexible to store and display any media and can include a specially designed lighting system to illuminate the shelves and make it easier to locate stored items.

Benefits of Compact Shelving

library compact book stack shelvingLibraries often face limited budgets and financial constraints, so expansion isn’t always possible. When managing a growing collection, library rolling stack shelving is an excellent solution. These rolling stack shelves make it possible to store book and multimedia collections while maintaining the floor space required for meetings or events.

Installing this type of compact shelving will help you store approximately three times as many books as conventional library shelving. A motorized drive guides the shelves along a rail system to create temporary aisles. When looking for a specific item or book, a patron can use the motorized drive system to open the shelving, create a temporary aisle, and locate their item. When not in use, the shelves can be rolled back together.

What is mobile shelving and is it a good option for libraries? Compact mobile bookstacks are ideal for places like university and law libraries, which must maintain numerous academic books. When students need access to a book in a collection, they can easily access what they need by using these electronic rolling shelves. This is a great book or file storage idea that increases the available space for students to study while also keeping their collection centralized and accessible.

high-density compact library storage

To prevent injuries to patrons and damage to materials, these shelves use a built-in safety system that detects when someone is in an aisle. If the shelving system detects a person in an aisle, it will prevent carriage movement. It also can also sense when materials are on the floor and alert the user to move the items.

Compact shelving library also keeps your entire collection organized. When transferring your items to your newly installed shelving, clearly mark each shelf with identifying information. Write this information on the shelf in a way that can be seen both when the shelves are open and when they are rolled together.

Not only does clear identification help your patrons know where to find what they’re looking for, but it will also encourage them to return it when they are finished using it. When you encourage your patrons to return items to their proper location, you are helping to keep your library organized and free from clutter. 

Use Compact Shelving to Create Makerspaces

Makespace areas are a rising trend among libraries nationwide. These flexible spaces allow patrons to create art, build something, or learn a new trade, all within the library.

compact library makerspaceWhile these spaces greatly benefit libraries, there is one downside to them—they often need to be built into an existing, and probably crowded, footprint. This often leads to librarians and library staff needing to store the same amount of books and documents in a smaller amount of storage space. A compact mobile shelving unit makes that possible.

Recently, in a library at a well-known educational facility, compact mobile shelving was installed during the creation of a makerspace. These shelves consolidated the library’s book collection, freeing up the majority of the floor space for the makerspace. After installing the compact mobile shelving, the library noticed an uptick in student visitation and usage.

How Southwest Solutions Group Can Help

Southwest Solutions Group has been in business since 1969. We believe in maximizing space, and we know the importance of shelving in the library. Through the use of compact shelving and years of knowledge, we have used our skills to optimize floor and vertical space in thousands of libraries. We have helped libraries become more efficient and welcoming without downsizing their book and media collections by providing innovative and compact solutions to storage area problems.

All of our projects are started by our knowledgeable and experienced design and planning team to ensure we are providing the right solution for your needs. Reach out to our team for more information on how to preserve space in your library with compact shelving!