With my new role managing the library offsite storage, I have discovered a much keener interest in how other people approach storage projects.
As such I thought I’d share a few thoughts on our current offsite store refurbishment. And if you have anyone who’s willing to talk to me on this topic tell me!
Around 5 years ago our University Property Campus Services section bought the library an external warehouse, to meet the load of books overflowing in open access spaces in libraries. The warehouse purchased was previously used for storage, however was rather dirty and the mezzanine floor was not set up for heavy loads. So we couldn’t make best use of all the space available.
Last year it was very exciting to hear the University had set aside funds for a refurbishment of this building so it could be of more use. This will include making storage space cleaner and with reliable heating/cooling, installing a welcoming visitor space and almost doubling the storage shelving.
However what this has meant is that we have had to move everything out of our current store whilst the work happens. I have learnt that it’s hard to hire a space large enough, with suitable shelving, for a short period (5 months) in Melbourne.
Luckily for us, the Melbourne Theatre Company have moved to a new space. Their old warehouse covered a huge footprint, and is now being used as our temporary store. The retrievers enjoy amongst the stacks of moved items, a very tall fake palm tree, a huge white wall for filming backgrounds against and numerous threatening handwritten signs about what would happen to you if you took a costume without signing it out appropriately.
We hold 6.5 km of books in this facility at present, so moving itself took over 2 weeks of packing and unpacking.
We currently run a closed access offsite store, with retrievals brought to the main campus each day. They can be forwarded onto other campuses by mail too. We had to keep this service running through the move of items, and are very grateful to Atlantis (company who moved for us) for their patience as we did this.
Come the end of the refubishment we will then need to pack everything up and move it back again. I’m hoping that that may be at a less busy time of the year where we could reduce the number of days we retrieve items, perhaps not. The need for space on campus is so urgent that I need to open as soon as possible.
Whilst the building refurbishment is going on my Stores staff are helping me write up a plan for the amount of new items we can take into the new shelving once we’re open. Then the fun begins scheduling which branches can offload their material first, and when!
Around the same time the new CARM2 store is opening in which we also have some storage planned; so after years of no offsite storage, suddenly we will have 2 options. Everyone, from the shelvers, to the managers, to the students are hanging out for a time where they can get to open access material shelved in order without any ‘overflow’ areas to trawl through.
My next challenge will be to include everyone’s concerns in determining what would move off campus. Do any of you have policies you can send me on what material is relocated offsite from your libraries? That is how you make decisions about what material can be ‘deselected’ (or insert other politically correct term for weeding!)