Re: Compact Shelving for Serials Diane M. Lewis 31 Aug 2000 19:15 UTC

I am posting this response to the query about compact shelving for a
colleague who is not on the List.

Diane M. Lewis
USGS Library, Reston, VA

----- Forwarded by Diane M Lewis/GD/USGS/DOI on 08/31/2000 01:52 PM -----

Disclaimer:  The views and opinions are mine, and do not necessarily
reflect the views and opinions of the U.S. Geological Survey.

The U.S. Geological Survey Library in Reston, Virginia has had compact
shelving for almost 10 years, with the newest system installed about 2
years ago in a public access area.  We are generally very pleased with all
of our systems.  Two systems are electric and two are manual.

The newest electrical system had a fairly long shakeout period, with
technicians having to come to adjust or replace some of the sensors.  We
are fortunate to be relatively close to the servicing office, so repairs
were done fairly quickly.  The system is easy for to use, and we have not
had any major complaints from users about the system.  The two electric
systems have electrical power packs that allow movement of the shelves when
the normal power is off.

One of the manual systems was a real problem. We were storing microfiche,
which is a lot heavier than books or magazines.  I don't think that the
system was engineered for the weight.  Another problem may have been a poor
initial installation.  When the library moved, this shelving system was
moved and changed to storing really large folios.  It works a lot better

Compact shelving systems are not very satisfactory for high traffic areas,
as already noted.  However, some of this can be compensated for by having
more aisles in the unit, such as one aisle for every 5 carriages instead of
every 10.

Because there are only a small number of compact shelving manufacturers,
differences of opinion and experiences may be due to the manufacturer, not
the concept or type of "propulsion'.  Also, technical changes have probably
corrected some of the problems users of older systems have experienced.

Electric versus manual should be decided to some extent on the size of the
installation.  In the gray zone between very small manual and really big
electrical, my personal preference would be for the electric.  I think that
it is probably a safer system for users and easier for them to operate.

I am not sure if Americans With Disabilities Act figures into manual versus
electric, but if so, I would think that it would mean having to get

Good luck.

Robert A. Bier, Jr.
Chief, Cartographic Information Services
U.S. Geological  Survey Library
950 National Center
Reston, VA 20192

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