Construction leaves books homeless

by Alexis Starke | 10/13/98 5:00am

About 130,000 volumes will be moved next month from the Baker stacks to the Storage Library, as construction of the Berry Library continues.

Construction in the stacks began last summer and will progress gradually until 2000.

Volumes will be moved into the Storage Library on Route 120, about two miles from campus, by the same professional team that will move the Special Collections to Rauner Library, Circulation Services Librarian Pamela Ploeger said.

Ploeger said Circulation Services has selected books for storage with the goal of minimizing the impact on students. Most selections have been made, but the list is not yet final.

Some materials chosen for storage are already available online. Others, many of which are old books, are infrequently used by students.

"We have put a lot of effort into selecting appropriate materials for transfer to storage, and we do not expect there to be much demand for those materials," Ploeger said. "Should we discover there is a great demand for some items, we will return them to Baker."

Students may ask for materials at the Storage Library from any circulation desk.

A library van delivers materials twice daily Monday through Friday, and many requests made in the morning arrive that afternoon. Delivery services will also be available during the last weekend of each term.

A circulation staff increase will allow requests to be retrieved within 24 hours, Computing Services Spokesperson William Brawley said.

Ploeger said future disturbances of the stacks should only affect students minimally, since volumes will be moved to storage and relocated within the new library in phases.

The more dramatic stack disturbances will begin in 2000. They will include the gradual removal of all volumes from the fourth floor, which will become space for reference services.

Only old journals and fragile, rarely-used or valuable volumes may remain in the Storage Library.

Brawley said stack disturbances are necessary to allow the library's collection to expand. Berry construction should ultimately allow the library to grow in one accessible space.

The library's collection increases by 45,000 new volumes each year and has outgrown available space in Baker, Ploeger said.

Eighty thousand books were moved when the Storage Library was opened to accommodate growth in 1982. About 10,000 books a year have been moved into the Storage Library since then.

Ploeger said few students and faculty members have complained during the 15 years the Storage Library and delivery service have functioned. An average of 5,000 books have been transported from storage to campus libraries each year.

She said the removal of highly used materials from Sherman Art Library has caused the most discontent.

Art materials currently in the Storage Library will be placed in Special Collections next month, after books from two rooms in Special Collections are moved to the Rauner Library.

The rest of the art books will be placed in a current work room in Special Collections that will be converted to hold books. Students are occasionally encouraged to travel to the Storage Library to use fragile materials that cannot be photocopied or are too large to be transported. They may make appointments at any circulation desk to use the Storage Library's reading room, Ploeger said.

The Storage Library is accessible via Advance Transit and is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.