Compact Shelving

Jim Glenn (
Wed, 24 Sep 1997 08:30:27 -0700


I'm re-submitting my original message to see if it goes through.

We moved the Media Library here at UC Riverside to a brand new building last
September. I could give you a long horror story about that ordeal and this
building that everyone on campus says looks like a prison, but that wouldn't
be answering your question. Because we were not given nearly enough space to
house the media collection we had no choice but to install compact shelving
for our videos and laserdiscs(the motion pictures had to remain in the
basement of our old building across campus, another horror story).

The compact shelves do save space. I think the most important factor is how
busy your department is. Our Media Library can get VERY busy. In our old
building we had stationary shelves. We could quickly grab a video off the
shelf. Now we have to turn a crank to get the shelves to move to get in the
right space to get a video. If a faculty member wants several videos and
they're in a hurry, as faculty always are, it can be very hectic. When we
took a video off the old stationary shelves there would be a vacant space
where that video was. With the compact shelving, after we've moved them back
and forth a number of times the videos shift on the shelf, so you can't tell
where the video you took goes, or if there is a video missing.

As you can tell, I'm not happy with our campact shelving. I would prefer the
old way of storing videos and laserdiscs for our situation here, but
unfortunately times change and we have to adapt. Some compact shelving has
spaces to hold the videos in place, but they are made to house videos that
are all the same format. Over the years our videos were cataloged as they
arrived, so we have U-matic, VHS, and yes, still some Betas all shelved
together so that kind of shelf wouldn't work for us. I think in the right
situation compact shelving is a great thing, but you really need to take a
good look at your collection, how busy your facuility gets, and how
often/quickly you have to access your materials. On the surface compact
shelving sounds like a good idea, and in the rigt situation I'm sure it is,
but you could be sabotaging yourself, too. I'll just say good luck!

Jim Glenn
Manager, Media Library
University of California, Riverside