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Shared Storage Facility for Library Materials

In October of 2007 the Board of Governors of the Florida State University System (SUS) approved a request to build a high-density storage facility at the University of Florida to provide access to the shared research collection for the SUS libraries. The original plan called for a high density “Harvard”1 model storage facility with a capacity of 3 million print volumes to be in operation by 2012. A delay in funding for construction has afforded the opportunity to review the capacity of the facility and submit a revised plan to the Board of Governors.

The high-density facility will be climate controlled with a temperature of 50 degrees and relative humidity of 35% in order to prolong the life of the materials stored there. It will have 35 foot high ceilings and use static (not moveable) shelving. Trays containing the materials will be placed on shelves and retrieved by staff using a mobile, electric lift.

The facility will offer an opportunity to re-allocate existing campus space by removing low use or duplicate materials, including bound journals, monographs, print indexes and abstracts, audio-visual formats, government documents, special collections, microforms, and maps. By agreement, the facility will accept only one set of each bound journal and only one copy of each edition of a monograph. Only cataloged items will be accepted for storage. Each item will be bar coded and stored according to size in trays to optimize space. Retrieval will be based on a location using the bar codes on the volumes, trays and shelves.

The University of Florida Libraries already have a medium-density Auxiliary Library Facility (ALF) located four miles from the main campus, near the Gainesville Regional Airport. The new high-density facility will be built adjacent to ALF. Consolidation of over 1.3 million volumes currently in storage at ALF and at Florida State University (FSU) will provide the initial collection, which will be augmented by collections from the other libraries in the SUS.

The existing ALF building will be renovated and repurposed. It will serve as the processing space for placing materials into high-density storage and retrieving them. It will also house the digitization, preservation and conservation operations currently located on the University of Florida campus. These operations will continue to support the UF Libraries as well as the collections in high-density storage. Some space will be reserved for UF Archives and Special Collections not suitable for high-density storage. Access to materials will be available by appointment in an onsite reading room, but the primary means of access will be through unmediated borrowing by the SUS and interlibrary loan.

Several projects are underway to prepare for the high-density storage facility, including:

A Statewide Storage Task Force was formed in early 2008 to create policies and procedures for the new facility. Members include representatives of all 11 SUS library systems, the Florida Center for Library Automation (FCLA), with input/support from several interested private universities and state colleges. Details are available at:   

1 For details on the Harvard Depository, please see An article on the adoption of the Harvard model by other research libraries is available to informaworld subscribers at