Cleveland Public Library Mobile Shelving Project Time-lapse Video

Timelapse video of mobile shelving transformation

This video shows the installation of one module of mobile shelving from beginning to end on the seventh floor of the Louis Stokes Wing of the Main Cleveland Public Library at 325 Superior Avenue in Cleveland, Ohio. The first step in the process is the removal of books from existing non-mobile shelves. The shelving system is then taken apart. The individual shelves are set aside to be used in the new mobile shelving system. Approximately 15,000 shelves can be reused, resulting in significant savings for the Library. The shelving framework parts that cannot be reused are recycled. High-strength steel rails are then affixed to the concrete floors, which were originally designed and built to hold 260 pounds of weight per square foot. The rails must be perfectly level for the system to operate properly. Any gaps between the concrete floor and the bottom of the rails are filled with high-strength grout. Fireproof wooden decking is then laid down. On top of that is adhered a durable rubber diamond deck flooring. The new shelving system is then erected, the reused shelves are placed into the shelving frames, and end panels are affixed. The final step is the wiring of the control system that operates the mobile shelving along with integral LED lighting that operates only when a particular aisle is open. The book collection is then moved to the new shelving, with between 10 and 17 inches of empty growth space added to the end of each shelf, depending on where it will be needed most as the collection grows.

The Cleveland Public Library Mobile Shelving Project is a $6 million infrastructure project through which the Library is increasing the storage capacity of its Main Library by just over 100,000 linear feet (19 miles) of capacity. The project’s scope includes the conversion of two complete floors in the Louis Stokes Wing (floors 7 and 9) from traditional shelving to high-density mobile shelving, which more than doubles the capacity of those floors, with a minor amount of additional mobile shelving added to the eighth floor — about 46,000 square feet of space in total (about half the area of a downtown Cleveland city block). The new mobile shelving is organized by four book sizes (books up to 12 inches tall, 12-17 inches, 17-21 inches, and over 21 inches) and is 112 inches (9 feet, 4 inches) high to maximize the use of available space. The storage capacity will be about 178,000 linear feet (34 miles), or enough space for about 1.5 to 2 million volumes, depending on size.

The project was approved by the Cleveland Public Library Board of Trustees on December 16, 2021, at the recommendation of CPL Executive Director/CEO Felton Thomas, Jr., and John Skrtic, Chief of Special Projects and Collections. The project is 100% taxpayer funded. The project started on March 1, 2023, and it is scheduled to be completed on November 1, 2024. Spacesaver Corporation (Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin) is the designer and manufacturer of the mobile shelving system. Patterson Pope (Cleveland, Ohio) is the mobile shelving installer. Corrigan Moving Systems (Cleveland, Ohio) is providing all moving services related to the project. Osborn Engineering (Cleveland, Ohio) is the Library’s consulting engineer. Eric Herman, CPL Capital Projects Manager, is managing all modifications to existing infrastructure (demolition, lighting, electrical, fire suppression system). Fegahli Brothers Construction and Engineering is making all modifications to existing infrastructure. Michael Ruffing, CPL Special Projects Manager, is the project leader.

Video credit: Michael Young, CPL Director of Digital Content (time-lapse photography). Catherine Young, CPL Videographer/Photographer (video editing).