Berkeley, California

Compact Shelving for a University Law School Library

Spacesaver Eclipse Powered Mobile System® helps the University of California, Berkeley Law School house their entire library in one location.
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Running Out of Space

A University Law School Library was about to run out of space due to an expansive law library and an influx of new students and faculty. The law school was founded in 1894 and moved to its current location on the southeast corner of the campus in 1951, becoming a gateway between the school and downtown. The building was originally built to house student study rooms, classrooms, and faculty offices with only the east wing dedicated to the library. In the 1960s another building was added to the west side of the school and in the 1990s another addition provided space for more library shelving and more study space for students. In 2006, when the school began to consider adding yet another wing, the existing stacks were at 170% of their capacity.

legal library compact storage shelving and man reading document at desks
sustainable storage solutions installed in a law library

More than 50 years of expansions resulted in a confused visual identity. The new addition not only needed to provide more space for library collections, students, and faculty; it also needed to create a refreshed identity for law school. This all had to be accomplished within a small footprint because the allotted space for expansion was limited.

By placing two of the three levels of the new building below grade, the architectural team was able to reduce the physical footprint of the new structure on the existing campus. To ensure that the new building was able to accommodate the large law library collection, a detailed space analysis was completed through a collaboration between the architect, the local Spacesaver distributorship, and the law school’s library staff.

electrical shelving storage system at law library
"The additional height of the compact shelving gives the library collection room to expand in order to accommodate future growth."

- Joseph Nicola, Ratcliff

Power of Reliability

The Eclipse Powered System®, outfitted with cantilever shelving, stores materials throughout the lowest level (LL2). By placing shelving on carriages that move from side to side, aisles were eliminated. To open an aisle, patrons simply push a large, easily accessible button.

The design team placed special emphasis on the height of the mobile systems. The shelving was designed to use only the first seven tiers of shelving for public access. The 10’ high units provide three additional tiers of shelving to accommodate future growth.

law library moveable shelving system

Storage Systems Adds to LEED Certification

By eliminating empty aisles and maximizing shelving height, the team was able to move the entire library collection (close to 875,000 volumes and volume equivalents) to one location, using only 85% of the allotted floor space on LL2. Because the library collection is housed on LL2, the upper level spaces are used for student study areas, lecture halls, faculty offices, and a café.

Students, faculty, and guests can enjoy a roof-top garden and because only one level is above ground, visual impact on the surrounding buildings is limited. In addition, the recycled content value of Spacesaver’s high-density mobile storage and fixed steel shelving was $653,514. With the total recycled content value of this job at $1.6 million, the shelving contributed close to 40% of the Materials and Resources Credit 4: Recycled Content. These features contributed to LEED® Gold certification.