Monday, August 19th marked a “momentous day” for the Libraries, as Vice Provost Ed Van Gemert remarked. After almost twenty years of discussing plans for a new library shelving facility, the golden shovels and hard hats were finally put to use in Monday’s ground breaking ceremony.
The new Verona Shelving Facility will be located at the Materials Distribution Services (MDS) building, adjacent to SWAP, and will provide one million inches of space for the hundreds of thousands of books which will find a home there next spring. Construction on the 10,000 square foot addition begins next month.
The books will be transported to the site using library carts which are currently being stored in the MDS warehouse. According to Middleton Shelving Coordinator David Thompson, about ten carts fit on an SCLS truck—so it will take quite a few trips! Van Gemert joked that “David will be able to compete in an iron man competition after this!”
Heather Weltin, Facilitator for Cooperative Sharing & Storage at UW—Madison, explained that the shelving system will be Spacesaver’s XTend Mobile High-Bay Storage System and the facility will be temperature controlled. Although the temperature will still fluctuate somewhat with the seasons, plenty of dehumidification equipment will be installed to keep the moisture levels down. The books won’t be on shelves like a traditional library, so LAS (library archival system) software by Generation Fifth will aid in pulling books from trays and a cherry picker will be used to grab and move things around the fully adjustable shelves. “David and I are really excited to get trained on the cherry picker,” Weltin said. “Luckily, it is wire-guided so you can’t accidentally bump the shelves… They added those extra bumpers just for me!”
As Van Gemert recalled, the conversation that kicked off this project happened in January 1994 and since then it has experienced its fair share of snafus and setbacks. For everyone involved with the project, to see it come to fruition is a highly anticipated event. Heather Weltin has worked on the project for the past two years and remembered that at her first project meeting, “They all kind of semi-jokingly said, ‘It’ll be a snap! Three walls and a roof, no big deal.’” But the past few years have been filled with hard work and problem-solving. “The SPSG (Space Planning and Shelving Group) have been extremely helpful in this process,” Weltin said. “They helped me make decisions regarding what will go into Verona Shelving and even before that when planning construction.”
Before digging in the shovels, Van Gemert spoke about the value and necessity of the Verona Shelving Facility. “It will enable the University to preserve and to continue to make available its investment in print research materials that we’ve collected on this campus for 165 years and counting, while also creating opportunities to repurpose library spaces on campus. The Wisconsin Collaborative for Enhanced Learning (WisCEL) is one such example.”
Many thanks go out to everyone who helped along the way. Van Gemert would especially like to thank Vice Chancellor Darrell Bazzell
and his office for helping with the location, logistics and funding; Provost Paul DeLuca for his strong support for the need for such a facility; Teresa Adams and Doug Rose from Facilities Planning and Management for their efforts and diligent support throughout; DOA staff and the State Building Commission for the necessary approvals; and Library staff including Heather Weltin and Mary Rader for their project management expertise. Van Gemert added that “of course we are indebted to the estate of Helen Matheson Rupp for investing in libraries and for making this all possible.”
For more about the Verona Shelving Facility (including blueprints!) check out their website.