Compact shelving makes room for library makerspace

As libraries change, Spacesaver’s storage solutions free up space for new uses.

O ver the past five years, the Salve Regina University’s McKillop Library has started to repurpose space devoted to book storage. The rise of digital technology and the need for collaborative spaces has created demand for more open and creative working areas, and while the library wanted to maintain its traditional stacks, staff also needed to create space for a computer lab, workspaces, and collaborative areas.


Makerspaces are increasingly popular in university libraries and public libraries, because they provide space for students and community members to learn, collaborate, and create.

Helping libraries evolve

As schools and universities increase their emphasis on technology and collaborative work, demand has increased for more open and creative working areas at public and university libraries.

The McKillop Library at Salve Regina started planning their space repurposing by determining what it eventually would be used for. Throughout the library, areas were designated for quiet study and collaborative space, as well as rooms for academic services and tutoring.

There is even a Makerspace area, which is a rising trend among libraries around the nation. Makerspaces allow students and patrons to create works of art, build something, or learn a new trade all within the walls of the library. The Makerspace at McKillop Library includes a button maker, a cri-cutter and a laminator.

The Director of Library Services, Olga Verbeek, said that a lot of students use the Makerspace, especially education majors. Other universities such as North Carolina State and the University of Michigan offer 3D printing services and multimedia production rooms.

“We know libraries are changing and have the need for more space, so we knew we needed something like mobile shelving.”

~ Olga Verbeek, Director of Library Services

The library’s new compact storage system has also created other areas for collaborative work. Large tables and whiteboards are now located throughout the library for students to use. Each space allows students to work on projects in a group setting.

The curriculum resource center has given more students a place to go for help with their work outside of the classroom.

All of these new and open spaces in McKillop were made possible by reducing and consolidating the library’s book collection. A 22-carriage high-density mobile storage system now compactly stores most of the collection.

Compact shelving compacted most of the library’s traditional stacks into half of the third floor, freeing up room for collaborative workspaces.

Spacesaver helped the library cut costs and reduce waste by using the library’s existing metal shelving and wooden endpanels.

Intuitive touchscreens for simple control

Taking up only half of the third floor, the new high-density mobile storage system offers convenient access to the stacks. Patrons and staff can open aisles at the point of need using an LCD touchscreen system developed by Spacesaver, which is called Touch Technology Control™. The screen’s intuitive visual cues make it easy, particularly for younger students, to operate the units and access books and other media.

Since the system was installed and the new space was created, more students have been using the resources on a daily basis. The high-density mobile system will add value to the Salve Regina library for the future.

We’ve worked with libraries all over the country to free up space for modern uses, while still preserving traditional book collections. Download our Info Sheet to learn more.

Free Download Info Sheet: The Repurposed Library