Crerar Library Adds Shelving Capacity for Up To Ten Years

A project to install more conventional and compact shelving in the John Crerar Library has begun. The additions are critically needed because the Crerar stacks, holding about 1.45 million volumes, are now more than 80% full, which is the traditional benchmark for a facility that has reached its functional capacity. Both the Chemistry Library and the Eckhart Library (mathematics, statistics and computer science) are completely full and have begun regular transfers to Crerar, exacerbating the shelving problems there.

Conventional shelving is being added in second and third floor stacks. Seating arrangements in the center of the floors were relocated to accommodate the shelving units. Assuming the collections will continue to grow at rates consistent with the last five years, the new shelving will provide each floor with approximately one year's additional growth space.

When Crerar was constructed the lower level was designed for publicly accessible, compact, mobile aisle shelving. Approximately 70% of the compact shelving was installed originally. The remainder of the space was used for controlled storage and staff functions. As part of the current project an additional 21,000 linear feet of compact shelving with a capacity of approximately 175,000 volumes will be constructed. At current rates of growth this represents slightly more than eight years capacity.

White Systems Inc. has been awarded the contract for the new compact shelving. The installation will be designed to blend in architecturally with the existing shelving but will have many advanced features. An infrared safety detection system will be used rather than mechanically activated sweeps to insure user safety, although we haven't lost a single reader in fourteen years in the existing system. The carriages will move more quickly and the electronic aisle controls are more sophisticated.

The installation of the compact shelving should be completed by summer and should cause minimal disruption for library users. Crerar staff are planning collection shifts to make the best use of the added shelving capacity. The cost of the project has been supported by a bequest from the Estate of Carl V. Wisner and other Library resources.

For more information, contact Kathleen Zar, Science Librarian, at kzar@midway.uchicago.edu or 702-7469, or Tom Dorst, Regenstein Reconfiguration Project Manager, at tjdorst@midway.uchicago.edu or 702-4772.

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