High-Bay Shelving


Space Planning Considerations

spacesaver product presentation high-bay storage systems

Planning and constructing an off-site library shelving facility requires a great deal of time, effort, and expertise. We’ve outlined some of the basics here, but be sure to check out our virtual presentations to take advantage of our knowledge and get your questions answered.

aia presentation highbay off-site storage

More Planning Insights

Download Spacesaver’s Planning a High-Bay Facility to find additional planning considerations and learn about the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s strategy for managing the move to an off-site shelving facility.


Planning Considerations


Site Selection

The high cost of on-campus real estate often requires off-site facilities to be located in older buildings or in new facilities on the city’s outskirts. Due to the tremendous weight load of books, shelving and retrieval equipment, soil tests and structural tests are required to ensure that the site can bear the load.


Storage Space Requirements

Many project planners and librarians are choosing to store volumes in boxes by size rather than by subject. Since all volumes and boxes are barcoded, volumes can be easily located in the high bay shelving system, no matter where they’re stored. Also be sure to create storage space for trays, boxes, and other supplies.


Environmental Control

To meet preservation standards, it’s necessary to maintain proper humidity, temperature, and ventilation. Because HVAC systems take up a substantial amount of space, be sure to account for the placement of vents, fans, and other components that could potentially obstruct storage systems.

Processing Media

A high-bay shelving facility is not a warehouse. It’s important to plan for the wide variety of functions that will be performed in the facility.


Coordinate Vendors Early

Put project vendors in touch with the architect or general contractor early in the planning phase, well before construction begins. Experienced vendors will bring useful insights and can help ensure that all components are accounted for in the plans and drawings.

Look Into Contracts

While considering a purchase from Spacesaver, it’s important to consider the purchasing vehicles that are available. Spacesaver has a variety of contracts, partnerships and teaming agreements that give you every choice available on how you want to procure your storage systems.


Calculating the Cost of Storage

Lifecycle Cost per Volume

The Lifecycle Cost per Volume, which measures the costs of storing a single volume over a period of time (i.e., 20 years), while factoring in the costs of real estate, construction, and on-going operations.


Static High-bay Shelving System

A high-bay shelving system makes maximum use of vertical space. Shelving can be easily adjusted based on book size or box type to condense collections.



Mobile High-bay Systems Require Less Floor Space

A smaller facility can be built when a high-bay system is compacted to eliminate empty aisle space. This results in decreased operational costs.



Mobile High-bay Systems at Full Capacity

When the same facility is filled with items stored on a mobile system, more volumes can be stored. The items remain accessible and organized while significant capacity is gained.



“Spacesaver was really a key player in our planning.”

– Heather Weltin, Director of Collection Management and Resource Sharing University of Wisconsin-Madison

What Moves When

Consolidating the contents of a library network requires a deliberate plan of action. In fact, some of our clients have found that planning the move to a high-bay facility can take longer than planning the facility itself. Consider these factors to help determine which volumes should be given priority in the move to off-site storage.


Circulation Statistics and Other Data

Analyzing circulation numbers, gate counts, shelving space, staffing levels, and the square footage of various library spaces helps build an understanding of how spaces and materials are being used.


Stakeholder Support for a Move

While some faculty and staff eagerly anticipate consolidation and are ready to move their collections, others are more resistant to change.


Suitability for Teaching and Research

Consider the feasibility of repurposing various areas, as well as those areas’ capability for supporting modern teaching and research functions.


Stakeholder Readiness to Repurpose Space

It makes more sense to move a collection when there’s a pressing need for on-campus space.


Feasibility of Moving Collections

Some collections are housed in purpose-built storage areas or are otherwise not good candidates for moving off site. It might be best to leave these collections where they are.

Next Steps

For decades, Spacesaver has been a trusted partner in helping architects, planners, administrators, and library professionals successfully design and implement offsite shelving facilities. Your local Spacesaver distributor can provide you with space planning services, product installation, and long-term service and maintenance by factory-certified technicians.

Explore some of our University and Library high-bay installations

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