Storage System


ReCAP has over 134,000 shelves storing more than 17 million library and archival collection items. The facility uses a Harvard Depository-style high density shelving design with 61 aisles of shelving distributed across seven storage modules and a cold vault. Each standard aisle consists of dozens of ladders of shelving, and can hold between 200-400,000 items. Shelving ladders are 30 feet high and filled with height adjustable shelves measuring 56 inches by 36 inches and holding an average of 140 books per shelf. The first four modules consist of six aisles with 37 ladders on each side of the aisle. Module 5 consists of 10 aisles with 41 ladders on each side. Modules 8 and 9 consist of 12 aisles with 42 ladders on each side.

Open face of Racking


Items are reached with an operator-elevating mechanical fork lift or "order picker" typical of warehouse operations. Guide rails around shelving provide for automatic steering of the order picker in Modules 1-5; Modules 8 and 9 use wire guided order pickers. The shelving vendor for modules 1-4 was Morgan Marshall of Chicago Heights, Illinois. Modules 5, 8 and 9 shelving was supplied by SpaceSaver of Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin. The Raymond order pickers were purchased from Arbor Material Handling, Inc. in Willow Grove, Pennsylvania.

ReCAP staff operating a lift in the aisle.


The seven modules and cold vault have a total built capacity approximately 19 million volume-equivalents. Items are sorted by size, both width and height and stored in trays made from acid-free cardboard to prevent deterioration of items. Trays are stored on appropriately-sized shelves to achieve the highest storage density. Our next phase of construction will expand our capacity to approximately 23 million items.

Trays are currently manufactured by Buckeye Corrugated, Inc. ReCAP has 16 different size trays. Items at ReCAP are not arranged in call number order, but are shelved according to size. For book collections, this means each book's physical size dictates where it gets shelved, not its subject matter or author. All items must arrive at ReCAP barcoded, clean, and either in good condition or in an appropriate preservation container. Since access to items stored at ReCAP is exclusively through barcode identification, adequate records to identify items by other means must be created and maintained by and at the owning library.