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LIBRA - Penn Libraries Research Annex


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Penn Libraries Research Annex (LIBRA) FAQ

What is LIBRA?
LIBRA is Penn Libraries Research Annex. Located in West Deptford, NJ, LIBRA will preserve and ensure access to lesser-used scholarly resources acquired over centuries by the Penn Libraries, while enabling the Libraries to continue adding new titles to shelves on campus.

Why can't all our books be kept on campus?
Penn's Libraries are at capacity - for every new book we acquire, one book has to be removed from campus libraries. Before opening LIBRA, we kept approximately 1.6 million volumes of lesser-used research materials offsite in a leased High Density Storage Facility which opened in 1998, at 30th and Market St.

What is high density shelving?
High density shelving maximizes the number of books that can be stored by shelving them by size instead of subject. Books and other items are placed in trays on shelves in racks that are 30 feet in height and are retrieved by staff using a modified forklift. This highly efficient, cost effective model is in use at numerous institutions.

Why did we leave the 30th St. facility?
After more than a decade, the 30th St. facility is full, and the building's owner, Drexel University, announced alternate plans for developing the property.

Why is LIBRA in New Jersey?
The selection of this site concludes more than a year of concerted effort by the Libraries and Facilities & Real Estate Services to find a suitable cost-efficient, adaptable, and long term space nearby to accommodate Penn's growing library collections. This facility best enables us to house and maintain our collections while providing rapid delivery of materials in both physical and electronic form.

When will the move to LIBRA be completed?
The move to LIBRA is now complete and the facility is open.

Will the level of service be the same?
Yes, books will be delivered within one to two business days from LIBRA to any campus library. Journal articles will be scanned and delivered electronically to your desktop. Our goal is to provide rapid delivery of materials in both physical and electronic form.

Can I visit LIBRA in New Jersey?
Yes, a reading room will accommodate researchers who choose to consult materials on-site. Because of the way in which the collection is shelved, visits must be arranged in advance in order to enable LIBRA staff to retrieve items for consultation.

How do I know what's at LIBRA?
The Franklin record for the item lists the location as LIBRA and requests for material can be placed from Franklin.

Will you still retrieve books and deliver them to any campus library?
Yes, books may be requested through Franklin and will be delivered to campus in one to two business days.

Can I have articles from LIBRA journals scanned and sent to me electronically?
Yes, articles may be requested from Franklin or web forms and will be scanned and delivered in one business day.

I want to consult a run of journals or newspapers without going to New Jersey. How can I do that?
We will retrieve and deliver requested materials to a campus library where you may use them onsite, or take them to your home or office. Policies and procedures are under development and will be announced soon.

When will the move from 30th St. to LIBRA take place?
The move is now complete.