Shelving Facility FAQ

Many of the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Libraries are overcrowded which prohibits access to collections. Building additions to the existing library buildings would be prohibitively expensive and only provide limited growth space for the collections (we add approximately a mile worth of material each year). Compact shelving facilities, whether located on-campus or nearby, are less costly to build, more efficient to run, and allow long-term access and preservation of these precious materials for future use.

Materials held at each of our shelving facilities vary by facility but are generally low-use materials. For more specific information regarding each facility, see the individual pages for each. Information regarding our campus collection decisions can be viewed on our Campus Collections Plan.

To maintain maximum efficiencies and to protect the materials, our shelving facilities are “closed stacks” which means that they are not accessible to the public. In keeping our facilities closed to the public, our goal is to not limit or prohibit access, but to maximize the use of space while providing the best access possible to our collections.

Each facility has unique restrictions for obtaining materials. Please read How to Get Materials to complete a request for shelving materials.

If you are requesting an item from one of our on-campus shelving facilities it will take between one to three business days.

If you are requesting an item from one of our off-campus shelving facilities the time could vary depending on where the material is coming from. These requests are handled by Interlibrary Loan Staff and have similar delivery times as ILL requests.

If you are a UW-Madison faculty, student, or staff, you can specify which campus library you would like to pick the material up at within the request form. Articles and book chapters will be delivered electronically to you.

Like all our materials, some items have restrictions on use. Some items from our shelving facilities may have circulation restrictions while others can be checked out using regular loan periods. If in doubt, ask a librarian (link) for more information.

For general questions regarding our UW Shelving Facilities and other shared facilities, and for questions regarding obtaining materials from the UW Shelving Facilities, please contact one of our Reference Departments.