Remote Shelving Services · 15
provements to services and facilities, but also a
few discontinuations. New services fall into sev-
eral categories. Electronic/desktop delivery of
documents was the most frequently reported with
14 remote shelving facilities adding this service.
Enhancements to the frequency or site of deliv-
ery were reported by 13 libraries. Many of these
are offering more frequent deliveries and shorter
turnaround times and will also deliver to more lo-
cations than before. Improvements to the facility
was a third category. Some added walk-in hours
or expand open hours. Others added wireless ser-
vice to the publicly accessible reading rooms. Two
opened new, climate-controlled facilities. All of
these changes were intended to either improve pa-
tron service or protection the collections.
Only nine respondents reported eliminating any
services. Three reduced the number of deliveries,
two eliminated photocopying, and one eliminated
public service hours either because of low user de-
mand or a need to reduce costs. One respondent
has stopped adding items to the facility because
the available shelving is full. Another lost a staff
member and did not finish adding holdings infor-
mation to catalog records. On the up side, a legacy
storage facility was discontinued because the col-
lections were moved to a new high-density storage
A majority of respondents (40 or 54%) said that
they are planning new services for their facilities.
Initiating or improving document delivery service,
particularly desktop delivery by e-mail or secure
Web page, leads the list. Others will respond to
ILL requests. Two sites report the development of
preservation services for the collection. Additional
plans include on-demand paging/scanning/digi-
tizing, mass digitization, microform scanning, ref-
erence service, and linking catalog records to order
forms, among others. One facility expects “to pur-
chase Remote Film Access software and carrier for
microfilm scanners when commercially available
in summer 2006. This will allow users to advance,
rotate, crop, etc., images remotely from film loaded
at the shelving facility.”
Future of Remote Shelving Facilities
Thirty-nine respondents have current plans to de-
velop additional library remote shelving facilities.
Of this group, 16 are planning additions to an exist-
ing facility, 11 are planning new facilities, and six
are at an early stage of planning with no specific
type of facility determined. Libraries in the early
stages of planning are looking at different alter-
natives for solving space issues and therefore the
need for a shelving facility; these include weeding
existing collections and installing compact mobile
shelving in existing libraries. Five libraries are
evaluating the use of a consortial facility operated
by another university. Two libraries will be install-
ing high-density shelving systems in new additions
immediately adjacent to the main libraries on cam-
pus. One of these will be a robotic storage facility
with space for 1.2 million volumes. Material will be
delivered automatically to the circulation desk in
about one minute.
Forty-nine respondents expect to be planning
for a new or additional space in the next five years.
Many of these will be adding modules to existing
facilities and construction on a few of these is im-
minent. Others are still in the planning stage but
expect building to begin within five years. Others
are searching for funding before planning can ad-
ARL member libraries’ use of remote shelving fa-
cilities as a response to space needs has increased
since 1998 and, judging from the responses to this
survey, this trend will continue. Another upward
trend is the use of shared facilities; 22 respondents
to this survey use shared facilities compared to
11 in the 1998 survey. A new option found in this
survey is the use of commercial firms specializing
in document storage and retrieval; three different
commercial facilities were reported. Two libraries
also report the development of new on-site auto-
mated storage and retrieval systems installed adja-
cent to main libraries on campus.
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