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Library basement reopens with new shelving system

Published: Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 01:01

 

When the USF Library undertook the SMART Lab project last year, a new problem developed — the second floor needed emptying. 

“The SMART Lab was under way and it was a big operation,” Scott Ryan, library services manager, said. “We needed to figure out where we were going to put all of the periodicals, reference items, journals and magazines.” 

Ryan said the resolution they decided on was a concept that was gaining popularity with many libraries: white-metallic compact shelving units the size of normal bookshelves that compress when wound and store up to triple the capacity of normal bookshelves. 

Installing the new shelving in the basement, the only floor strong enough to support the heavy units, Tom Cetwinski, director of administrative services at the Library, said, began during the summer and opened to students on Monday. 

The new units in the basement house the content formerly stored on the second floor and what was originally in the basement, but cover only about 65,000 linear feet of space. 

“They are designed to put as many items in a small space as possible,” Ryan said.

When students walk into the basement, they will immediately see the new compact shelving dominating the right side of the basement. Students can access the books there by turning a handle on the side of the shelving unit. 

The shelves also have locking mechanisms to prevent students from being crushed between shelves if another student tries to open a different section while in use. 

Some students, such as Joe Johnson, a junior majoring in health science, could not access  items he needed from the second floor and basement while it was under construction.

He tried to visit the basement to view maps and government documents he had heard about from other students. Due to the construction, he was not able to see them.

Students who needed documents were directed by a sign in the lobby of the library and a post on the Library’s website to either request the document at the front desk or to fill out a request form online. 

“(The process) wasn’t clear that you could request information,” Johnson said. “But it wasn’t vital, so I wasn’t going to seek it out.”

Though the new compact shelving has cleared space on the second floor, some students think more space should be dedicated to SMART Labs.

“There is never any room in the SMART Lab,” Vicky Guillet, a graduate student in health sciences, said. “It is a growing campus, so there is not a lot of room for people to study.”

The units occupy only a small amount of space in the basement currently. With a little rearranging, it is possible to move other floors to the basement. 

“We always have plans to increase the use of our space to make it more student-centered and to help students succeed,” Cetwinski said. 

Cetwinski said it is not space that the Library is worried about, but budget. Elizabeth Clifford, a project manager, said the total cost of the shelving project could not be disclosed to The Oracle at time of print. 

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