Million Stories Under One Roof

It's home to more than a million stories. Reference books, maps, and multimedia are housed there. So how does the Syracuse University Libraries Facility preserve these materials for hundreds of years?

Here's the transcribed version of our video:

Interviewer: “Inside is building located a short distance away from the SU campus are more than a million stories.”

Pamela McLaughlin, Director of Communications: “It is a very cool place and kinda off the beaten track so people don't happen upon it crossing the quad.”

Interviewer: “Pam McLaughlin from the library isn't kidding when she says cool, but we’ll get to that in a moment. This is the university's high-density storage facility, a place where more than a million books and other vessels for information reside. Materials that can’t fit at bird nor Carnegie Libraries.”

Melinda Dermody, Access and Resource Sharing: “I don't think there's anything more we can do to make sure that these items are in the best environment.”

Interviewer: “And to keep them in the best environment they're kept inside a temperature-controlled, humidity controlled vault one which will preserve these items for hundreds of years.”

Melinda Dermody, Access and Resource Sharing: “It is a very sophisticated process for keeping our collections at 50 degrees and 30 percent humidity. The HVAC and the ductwork, we have canvas ductwork that allows the facility, the vault to stay at constant temperatures in constant humidity so that the material is well-preserved.”

Interviewer: “Returning materials are gingerly treated, vacuumed and size, with similar sizes placed together to maximize storage space. And when it comes to these precious materials preservation is the key, even down to what appears to be the cardboard storage boxes.”

Melinda Dermody, Access and Resource Sharing: “These look like regular boxes but these are actually archival quality, so the neutrality of the boxes they're very neutral there’s little acid, no acid actually, so from the vacuuming to the tray in which it is stored, we are ensuring that it is in the optimal conditions.”

Interviewer: “Ikea would be proud of the way space is used inside the vault, but when you look closely you'll see treasure. Consider this: the original Google, long before computers were widely used, that's what is stored here. And it's not just books. There are tubes filled with architecture drawings, microfiche, maps and video and audio recordings—some rare, some from kings in the industry.

Pamela McLaughlin, Director of Communications: “Dick Clark, The Brauer project, which is a fantastic project, all materials from Special Collections as well as just mainstream books and journals.”

Interviewer: “But while the materials here are handled to hold up over the long haul they’re never too far away for students and faculty who need them.”

Melinda Dermody, Access and Resource Sharing: “So there are two parts of this: these items are as you can tell very cared for all the way to the point that they're on the shelves but as much care we put into getting them into the safe environment we have equal amount of energy and processes in being able to get these items out for people that need them and they will get them within a day. So this book that we see here it's all set to go to live for hundreds of years, but the minute somebody requests it, we will quickly get it out for them. We will either scan an article and deliver it the same day or the very next day or we’ll take the item and physically deliver it back. And when they’re done with it, it comes back and gets back to its spot in its tray, the original spot, so it is very dynamic.”

Pamela McLaughlin, Director of Communications: “So keeping the raw materials available in a place that will allow them to thrive for another two hundred and fifty years is really a way to keep this stuff accessible.”

Interviewer: “Accessible and ready at a moment's notice. Keith Kobland, SU News.”