From the outside, the University of Wisconsin-Madison Libraries’ Verona Shelving Facility looks like any other warehouse. On the inside it houses a high-density, state-of-the-art shelving space that is a critical investment in the future of the Libraries.
“For a top-notch research university to continue to provide the resources our users require, having a high-density facility is imperative,” says Ed Van Gemert, Vice Provost for Libraries. “Our peers around the Big 10, and the country have already moved in this direction. A competitive institution needs the flexibility to protect and be good stewards of its print collections, while improving the way we meet our users’ needs.”
The $2.5m, 10,000 square foot facility broke ground in 2013 and opened officially in October 2014. Located at the Materials Distribution Services (MDS) building, adjacent to SWAP, the facility is viewed as a game-changer when it comes to UW Library operations.
“The materials we have are requested across the state, and beyond,” says Doug Way, Associate University Librarian for Collections and Research Services. “While technology has allowed for many of our resources to become digital, the reality is, there will always be a need for physical resources. And that means we need space to acquire important new materials.”
Verona will enable the University to continue to invest in print research materials that have been collected on campus for more than 165 years. Currently, there are more than 100,000 volumes, or 1.5 miles worth of materials in the facility. As the Libraries also look to reduce their physical footprint on campus, Verona will play an important role in consolidation efforts.
“Verona will have a significant impact on campus and research at several levels,” says Heather Weltin, Facilitator for Cooperative Sharing & Storage at UW—Madison. “It means the ability to continue collecting materials we need to stay competitive, while improving services and learning spaces that are relevant to a rapidly changing campus community.”
The Verona Shelving Facility also marks a collaboration for the Libraries that dates back more than 30 years. To create the new facility, the Libraries leaned on long-time partner and Wisconsin-based provider, Spacesaver Corporation to help build one of the Libraries’ most difficult projects yet.
“We have had the opportunity to work with Spacesaver for decades now, beginning back when we put high-density shelving in Kohler Art Library,” says Van Gemert. “Not only do they provide a tremendous solution to our growing shelving and storage needs, but knowing we are collaborating with a Wisconsin business makes it a special partnership.”
Verona is expected to take several years to fill. During that time, the Libraries will use Verona as a stepping stone as they prepare to reinvent themselves– transforming to meet not only the demands of space, but continuing to find the best way to serve users.
“This is the beginning of an exciting and challenging journey,” Weltin says. “We have our work cut out for us. But I see spaces like Verona as providing a world of opportunity to make sure we continue to remain one of the best research library systems in the country.”
On April 9, the UW-Madison Libraries, along with Spacesaver, will host a special ribbon cutting with campus and Verona area officials, as well as an open house at the Verona Shelving Facility and Wisconsin Brewing Company, from 3-6pm. Tours will be given during this event.