UNM committee OKs library repository project

Collections in the state’s largest library system would continue to grow under a proposal to establish an additional repository.

Collections in the state’s largest library system would continue to grow under a proposal to establish an additional repository.

The University of New Mexico Board of Regents’ Finance and Facilities Committee voted Tuesday to recommend a proposal that would allow the university’s library system to house its overflow of permanent collections in an existing 14,000-gross-square-foot warehouse area in the UNM Press building located on the south campus in Albuquerque.

The proposal now goes to the full board of regents for consideration during its next meeting on Monday.

“This is an ongoing challenge for universities across the country,” UNM President Garnett Stokes told committee members. “I want to speak to the importance of this project … having been at the University of Missouri where we had a major problem with a repository facility and a major molding problem that turned into a political nightmare on our campus. I have learned my lesson on the need for investing in facilities and maintaining environmental controls in those facilities.”

Under the proposed plan, collections with relatively low usage, but still considered a value in the library’s portfolio, would move to the warehouse space after an upgrade of environmental controls designed to extend the life of new and current collections is completed.

Indoor environment control construction would include upgrading heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems from evaporative coolers and gas-fired unit heaters to a central ducted refrigerated air system with variable capacity control.

The indoor environment system would maintain the collections at a consistent temperature between 65 and 70 degrees and relative humidity between 30 to 50 percent.

The interior lighting system would also see an upgrade to limit the amount of ultraviolet light within the space.

Without the new space, the library would have to dispose of collections or refuse new publications.

The estimated cost of the project is $400,000 – $300,000 from Provost Office building renewal and replacement money and $100,000 from library reserves.

The library system at UNM, comprised of the Centennial Science and Engineering Library, Fine Arts and Design Library, Parish Memorial Library for Business and Economics and the Zimmerman Library, adds more than 20,000 physical items annually to its collections, according to its website.

That amount of new material requires about a half mile of shelving – the distance on Central Avenue between Yale and Girard.

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