Northwestern University in Saint Paul, Minnesota, has opened its doors to evangelical students for more than one-hundred years. Surrounded by a beautiful park-like campus, students have been able to study with some of the best teachers in fellowship and faith.
But until recently the University struggled with their storage capabilities and technology. They seemed stuck in a technological rut that left both students and faculty frustrated and even unable sometimes to access vital files and information. For instance, the curators for the school’s noted sheet music collection were forced to keep their perishable ensemble collections in almost cave-like conditions.
Prior to putting in their very own customized library storage shelving, the school’s sheet music curators had to imprison their precious collection in the dank basement below Northwestern’s world famous performing arts arena — an unventilated hole that was nearly impossible to access without a treasure map.
But once shelving space became available upstairs in the school’s library, the curators were happy to be able to store their instrumental and choral arrangements in an organized manner that made it much easier for faculty and students to access the sheet music for all sorts of musical performances and study. It’s the kind of thing that mobile shelving can do for a college or a business to bring filing order out of chaos.
Shelving with efficiency
Lacking a central plan for optimum use with limited space, the University hesitated to move sensitive material like their sheet music collection to the performing arts library without a plan to minimize disruption to the library’s everyday activities, since the library was literally the nerve center for the vigorous performance arts activities that make the school a magnet for students from around the world.
But after a professional assessment was made of the library’s storage potential, the crucial space was shown to be available through use of a mobile shelving strategy that would minimize disruption using a collapsible concept with the shelving that made it possible to bring up all the sheet music in a remarkably short time and refile it with a minimum of fuss and bother.
Putting the large collection of sheet music safely on the first floor allowed students and staff full access without any further delays, the kind of delays that in the old days had had a dampening effect on musical soirees and study.
For the curators, this also meant they could pour more of their time and energy into current musical events instead of having to worry about how long it would take to dig up the appropriate sheet music down in their former musical dungeon.
Organization with intelligence
Sheet music comes in all sizes and shapes, so standard operating procedures for filing it are too cumbersome. But with mobile shelving technology the sheet music, whether for a concerto or for a quartette, is sorted first by folio size and then by number of consecutive pages — this allows for a filing system that makes sense to the greenest student and can be accessed quickly and frequently.
It’ll work anywhere
Most schools and companies don’t have the luxury of putting up additional structures just for better and more accessible filing and storage. They have to work with what is already in place. That’s why mobile shelving makes so much sense — it takes the available space and can literally double or triple its storage capacity while increasing efficiency. And, as they discovered at Northwestern University, that’s something to sing about!