Moveable Library Shelving on Campus

Remodeling Harper College’s library with moveable shelving.

A commitment to learning

On most campuses, the library is a lively hub of learning and collaboration. But students and faculty at Harper College in Palatine, Illinois, found that working in the old campus library was more about endurance than enjoyment. The aging building hadn’t been remodeled in more than 20 years, and it was dark, overcrowded, and noisy. Perhaps most importantly, the building’s labyrinthine layout made it difficult for students to find their way around.

“We needed to find a better place for them to learn.”

– Njambi Kamoche, Dean, Resources for Learning

flexible university library design

An open, flexible concept

When the campus acquired funds to renovate the library, faculty and staff knew exactly what they wanted: flexible, student-centered spaces that would take advantage of natural light and expansive views. They also wanted a space to secure the college’s archives, which were growing steadily every year.

The planning committee worked with the Chicago-based Spacesaver distributorship to design shelving that not only stored books and other printed materials, but that also coordinated with the team’s design goals.

The planning committee wanted more flexible spaces and a brighter, more open feel.

Counter-height library shelving creates bright, flexible spaces

The library’s main level is bright, open, and busy. The planning team wanted to provide casual collaboration spaces on this level, along with access to popular periodicals, digital media, graphic novels, and other materials. Counter-height cantilever shelving contributes to the open feel, allowing natural light from large windows to fill the space. A-frame carts provide storage and display for DVDs and other media. The shelving is fitted with casters that allow staff to move them when they want to repurpose the space.

counter height library shelving

Quiet study spaces

The third floor is dedicated to independent research and quiet study. Tall cantilever shelving units house the majority of the library’s collection, and study carrels offer privacy.

Custom end panels

Throughout the library, Spacesaver shelving was fitted with custom end panels that integrate with the rest of the building’s interior design. The result is a sleek, clean look that unifies the facility while also providing convenient access to the library’s collection.

custom library shelving finishes

library shelving on wheels

Shelving on Concealed Casters

Best for Infrequent Moves

Library ‘Carts’ for Any Setting

Moveable library shelving can look and function much like a library cart, or the casters can be concealed for a more streamlined appearance.

library shelving with casters

Shelving on Visible Casters

Best for Frequent Moves

A secure space for campus archives

The design team also worked with the local Spacesaver consultant to design a secure area to house the college’s archives and special collections.

Archives with room to grow

The planning committee chose 4-Post shelving mounted on a high-density mobile system to store archival boxes and printed materials. The archives were designed with room to grow. Some of the high-density storage shelves are currently empty, awaiting future acquisitions.

secure archival library storage

library shelving door cabinets

Shelving with doors create budget-friendly ‘cabinets’

The archivist also needed to store odd-sized items including plaques, dinnerware, and other objects associated with the institution’s history. Due to budget considerations, and because the objects didn’t need the more extensive protection offered by museum cabinets, the planning committee chose Spacesaver’s 4-Post shelving units fitted with doors and museum trays. The trays fully extend, allowing researchers to view objects without disturbing them, and the doors have keyed locks to provide an additional layer of security.

Enduring Solutions for Campus Libraries

At Spacesaver, we understand that planning a new building or a major renovation is a once-in-a-career opportunity for many library professionals. It’s a daunting task, but we work on library projects every day and we can help make sure you understand all your options.

Contact us to connect with your local Spacesaver consultant, who can coordinate with our in-house engineers, project managers, and manufacturing professionals to design, build, and install enduring storage solutions that will stand the test of time.