By now, hopefully all researchers have seen the notice on our website that the Special Collections & University Archives will be closed from December 23 until January 10, reopening on Monday January 13, 2020. What you probably haven’t seen is an explanation.
The motorized compact shelving we have in our storage area was installed over 20 years ago and has surpassed its expected lifespan; some of the replacement parts aren’t even made any more! We’ve been experiencing some failure among these shelves for many years, and we’re now at the point that replacing some of the electronics is the most reasonable course of action.
To do this, staff will need to remove the boxes from some of the shelving to allow for the work to happen. Below you see one shelf in one range, which gives you an idea of how many boxes staff need to remove, then replace.
While one shelf range is being fixed the shelves on either side are inaccessible, meaning that about 1/5 of our holdings would be unavailable to researchers at any given point during this process. In the photo below you can see how the shelves fit snugly together, limiting access.
Since the winter break is usually a slow period for us here in Special Collections & University Archives, we decided to do the work now to limit the impact on researchers.
We look forward to starting the new decade with fully functioning shelves!