The University Archives and Regional History Collections include many archival storage items: books, journals, archives, monographs and bound periodicals dating back to the 1700s. These special collections had been stored in three campus buildings, including an old gymnasium space previously used as a swimming pool, since 1990.
“We had a real challenge here at Western Michigan University,” said Sharon Carlson, Archives and Regional History Collections Director for Western Michigan University.
The multiple locations made accessing the archives a challenge for students, faculty and researchers. Library staff often found themselves escorting researchers across campus, only to discover the need to come back at a later time or even another day to gain access to that part of the collection. Aside from accessibility barriers created from housing the collection in multiple locations on campus, the conditions of these facilities were not ideal. Since the original buildings were never intended to be libraries, there were issues with temperature and humidity control.
“Having all of the library shelving collections under one roof seemed to make a great deal of sense,” said Carlson, “It also made a great deal of economic sense for the university, because they were maintaining some very outdated buildings.”
After eight years of planning and design, the Zhang Legacy Collections Center was built, and an XTend® Mobile High-Bay Shelving system from Spacesaver was installed by The Casper Corporation, the Authorized Spacesaver Representative in Michigan.Download the case study now to learn more about Western Michigan's archival storage system.