UNC Charlotte has signed a lease on 44,233 square feet of warehouse space for offsite storage to house low-use print materials, in order to provide library space needed to accommodate the growing student population. J. Murrey Atkins Library’s offsite storage is located at a new warehouse facility on Derita Road in Concord and is a 15-minute drive from the main campus.
Following a 2017 study by architecture firm Shepley Bulfinch, which looked at space allocation in Atkins, part of their recommendations suggested moving 70-80 percent of the print collection to a remote storage facility. A Faculty Council Collection Review (FCCR) task force worked with the library during AY2019/2020 to advise on how to select which materials to move to offsite storage and how to maintain efficient access to the collection. This move is necessary because:
- In the short term with COVID-19, Atkins needs to provide additional social-distanced seating in the library.
- In the long term, the library needs to provide more study and collaboration seating (2,500 additional seats) for students.
- The monograph collection is separated between the ground floor and the rest of the building and is not in order, which makes it difficult to browse. The move will enable Atkins to reintegrate the books staying in the library in call number order and restore browsing.
- Atkins has run out of space for new materials to be shelved in their proper location, so many of the new materials are shelved on overflow shelves and not integrated with the collection.
- The tower elevators and shelving layouts are not ADA-compliant, making access to tower-level collections difficult if not impossible for patrons with disabilities.
“Atkins Library is the hub of research, learning, and innovation on the UNC Charlotte Campus, and provides essential space for students to collaborate, study, explore, and create,” said Dr. Jay Raja, Senior Associate Provost of UNC Charlotte. “Between our growing enrollment and the strain of social distancing due to the pandemic, moving these materials to the storage location helps ensure that students have the resources and academic space they need to be successful. The move follows a national trend in academic libraries to devote additional space to student collaboration and interaction.”
The FCCR task force created a model based on usage and publication date to identify the titles that could be moved to the offsite storage facility both equitably among all subject areas and flexibly depending on the size of the selected space. This fall, Atkins will begin moving the journals from the 2nd floor, followed by 70 percent of the monographs, based on the model created by the task force.
Materials that will remain in the library include popular reading, reference, Curriculum Instruction Materials Center (CMIC), faculty publications, government documents, microforms, DVDs, musical scores, maps, oversized materials, and Special Collections and University Archives. The remaining monographs will be moved to the ground floor compact shelving. The library will analyze plans for the long term arrangement of the remaining print collection in the building based on the recommendations in the FCCR task force report.
“We are confident that our patrons - students, faculty, and staff alike - will experience the same timeliness and level of support when browsing and requesting materials from offsite storage as they do now,” said Dr. Anne Cooper Moore, Dean of J. Murrey Atkins Library. “Patrons can browse the library’s book collection through the virtual browse feature in our catalog including print books on and offsite along with our extensive ebook collection. Our goal is to provide all requested materials within 24 hours during regular business hours regardless of whether they are in Atkins or offsite storage.”
UNC Charlotte faculty and staff can request that an item be pulled from offsite storage and sent to their university department, and students can request that an item be sent to Atkins or the Hight Architecture Library to be held for pickup. Atkins created a webpage and FAQ to answer questions regarding the offsite storage facility and the process to browse and request items. Faculty who have questions about offsite storage are asked to contact their subject librarian.