The unquestioned pursuit of knowledge has always avoided what many libraries have come to embrace: Fewer books doesn’t necessarily mean less learning. In fact, reducing the number of physical text on-site can help libraries inform a new generation of learners.

Modern educational facilities offer more than just stacks and stacks of fiction, reference, biographies, criticism, the esoteric and the like. Today’s libraries are a consummate resource for 21st-century learners, providing computers and other technology, a cozy place to curl up with their work and even in some cases, things like food courts for voracious readers ravenous for more than just a delicious page-turner. The problem lies in what to do with the excess.

“Reducing the number of physical text on-site can help libraries inform a new generation of learners.”

Turning the page on a new era of education

Texas Christian University aspired to update their library along a similar vein, but something stood between them, namely, what to do with 800,000 underused books taking up valuable space. According to an ABC News report, if placed spine to spine, TCU’s overflow would stretch from Fort Worth to Hurst, more than 10 miles. Some haven’t been opened for decades.

But we all know what happens when you judge a book by its cover, or better yet, its last check-out date. Just because it hasn’t been read in a while doesn’t mean it won’t prove useful to someone at some point down the road. Even if TCU could sell off its overstock or redistribute it to worthy organizations, it would still come at a cost to the community. People can’t benefit from books they can’t check out, even the ones whose covers only get cracked once in a blue moon.

TCU mulled over this conundrum before discovering a solution: creating an off-site book depository powered by high-bay storage systems.

A ‘novel’ idea for saving space

In 2013, TCU built a facility a couple miles away from its campus to house its hundreds of thousands of underused books instead of getting rid of them. But to accomplish this truly great feat, they needed much more than just a few helping hands to stock bookshelves, but a shelving system strong and efficient enough to set the precedent at TCU’s depository.

A high-bay storage system was exactly what the librarian ordered. At a height of 16 feet, the TCU library staff knew that every available bit of space in the new facility would go toward prolonging the life of literature. Adjustable racking also allowed facility operators to control the vertical space between shelves, preserving any kind of book from long, thin magazine-style glossies to fat thousand-page tomes without sacrificing efficacy. A sturdy frame ensures these racks will be able to support a volume of overflow books that rivals the reported contents of the Library at Alexandria.

Thanks to quick thinking and a high-bay storage system, TCU students can still have access to the nearly 1 million books kept off-site. And with all that extra room, TCU added more quiet study areas for its pupils to conduct research, finish homework or accomplish their own educative endeavors in peace.

Founded in 1924, Montel is a company specialized in the design and manufacture of high-density mobile storage systems for a multitude of markets, including libraries, museums, industrial warehousing, education, healthcare, public safety, military, sports and indoor vertical farming.

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