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Storing Local History at Libraries

Community History Preservation

May 28th, 2020 - 2 min read

In addition to typical print collections, libraries are often repositories for a community’s historic treasures: maps, architectural plans, newspapers, local authors’ journals and manuscripts, and other artifacts and memorabilia.

These items need to be protected and preserved. Here are a few ways Spacesaver can help store local history at public libraries.

Calgary Central Library

Map Cabinets as Storage and Display

The new Calgary Central Library features stunning architecture and a variety of innovations to help patrons learn and explore. The “Calgary’s Story” area showcases the local history collection of the Calgary Public Library, including monographs, photos, documents and historical maps.

library moveable flat-file collection storage
museum quality glass top mobile cabinet

Maps and other large documents are housed in Spacesaver flat-file cabinets with glass display tops. The cabinets are mounted on casters (wheels) so staff can easily reconfigure the space for special events.

“We love that they’re on casters, providing us lots of flexibility,” said Facilities Design Lead Lisa Hardy. “The glass display makes the materials inside more visible to visitors so that they know without signage what is in the drawers. They suit our purpose perfectly.”
library map display cabinet
library historic photo display community public history

Richland Library Eastover

Historic Photos as a Design Element

All too often, a town’s historic photographs are stored away and rarely seen or appreciated. The public library in Eastover, South Carolina, on the other hand, has found a creative way to bring history front and center. When the library, which had been in the same location for 30 years, received grant funding for a renovation and expansion, staff and the community wanted the design to incorporate modern elements like flexible room layout and access to technology while still honoring local history.

The nearby Spacesaver consultant worked with the clients and Spacesaver to design a creative solution. Historic photos were scanned and printed on acrylic panels, and then the local Spacesaver installation crew mounted them to shelving. It’s a creative way to bring the community’s history out of the archives and into public view.

Harper College Library

Secure Storage for Archives and Special Collections

Faculty and staff at Harper College in Palatine, Illinois, worked with their architect and their local Spacesaver consultant to design a secure area in the college’s new library to house archives and special collections. While the bulk of archival paper storage was housed on compact mobile shelving, the college also needed to store odd-sized items including plaques, dinnerware, and other objects associated with the institution’s history.

library community historic collection preservation cabinet

Download The Whole Story

library shelving historic artifacts pullout trays

Due to budget considerations, and because the objects didn’t need the more extensive protection offered by museum cabinets, library staff opted to install Spacesaver’s 4-Post shelving units fitted with doors and slide-out 4-Post trays. The trays fully extend, allowing researchers to view objects without disturbing them, and the doors have keyed locks, providing an additional layer of security. As the collection grows over time, the trays can be raised or lowered without special tools, allowing staff to adjust tray spacing to maximize space and accommodate objects of different heights.

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