Skip to Navigation
University of Pittsburgh
Print This Page Print this pages

September 26, 2002

Open house provides look at ULS resource center

Following a dedication ceremony at 10 a.m., the University Library System (ULS) will offer tours of its library resource center at 7500 Thomas Blvd. in Point Breeze, on Oct. 2 until noon.

This is not your father's library building.

It includes a high-tech, climate-controlled storage facility with 60-foot-tall stacks that can hold up to 3 million volumes. The center also houses the Pitt archives (which, for the first time, are being stored under climate-controlled conditions) plus ULS's preservation laboratory, technical services, digital research library and information systems department.

"Not only is this a state-of-the-art storage facility, it also greatly expands our capacity to do preservation work to care for our older materials," said Rush G. Miller, ULS director and University Librarian.

"We also have a greatly expanded technology environment out there. We operate 40 servers, and now we will have an environment where we can better serve users of our networked information resources."

Moving ULS materials, labs and technical units to 7500 Thomas Blvd. will free up space in Hillman Library and eliminate the need to store books at the University of Pittsburgh Applied Research Center (UPARC) in Harmar Township, 14 miles from Oakland.

All of the 600,000 volumes currently stored at UPARC (only half of them in a climate-controlled facility) will be moved to 7500 Thomas Blvd. "You have to process a book at a time, so it's probably going to take a year to transfer them all," said Miller.

But the work and cost will be worth it, he said. "This buys us, probably, 20 years worth of growing space. And the beauty is that the book storage part of it was built for about $1 per volume capacity. That's one-hundredth of what it costs to build library space."

ULS's long-range plan foresees adding on to the Thomas Blvd. storage facility, if needed. "If 20 or 25 years from now this new storage facility is full, Pitt could build another one for the equivalent of $3 million in today's money, to hold another 3 million volumes," said Miller. "There's almost an endless capacity there to accommodate growth in our print collections."

Whereas ULS users currently have to wait a day or two for a book that's stored at UPARC to reach Hillman, retrieving a book from the Thomas Blvd. facility will take half a day or less, according to Miller.

— Bruce Steele

Filed under: Feature,Volume 35 Issue 3

Leave a Reply