Watch any show on HGTV , and you will probably hear someone espouse the virtues of proper storage and the need for adequate closet space. The same conversation has been happening for a while at theWest Virginia University Libraries.

The Libraries now have 12,000 more square feet of space to house lesser-used books, journals and other materials, thanks to the newly opened addition to the LibrariesDepositoryin the WVU Research Park.

This off-site storage is designed to preserve our collections but still make them available to WVU students and faculty through the MountainLynx catalog,Libraries Dean Frances OBrien said.I think its a good solution to the increasing demand for more study and learning space in the campus libraries.

The addition comes eight years after the Libraries began moving materials into the original Depository, which is now filled to capacity. One-fifth larger than the original, the new space will provide storage for an estimated 750,000 books, along with bound journals, microfilm, audio-visual materials, archival collections and WVU Press book inventory.

Guidelines call for books and other materials that have not been used in more than 10 years to be sent to the Depository.

Keeping up with that rule requires yearly maintenance. Randy Jenkins, Depository manager, said about 7,000 books were recently pulled from the shelves at the Downtown Campus Library and will soon be stored at the addition. Library staff are also continuing to remove old journals for transfer.

Similar work is being done at the Evansdale Library. The goal is to have all journals and other materials prior to 1995 housed at the Depository.

Another important job for the facility is conservation. The Depository provides optimal temperature and humidity for fragile archival items from theWest Virginia and Regional History Collectionand Special Collections.

In the new Depository building, we can safely preserve more nonbook materials, including fragile audio and video recordings,OBrien said.

Far from being a browsing library, the place is more reminiscent of the warehouse at the end ofRaiders of the Lost Ark.Staff sort the books by size; store them in bar-coded, acid-free trays; and use a battery-powered lift to place them on 30-foot-high shelves.

But, unlike the ark and artifacts packed away in that fictitious warehouse, materials are easily accessible by simply visiting the LibrariesWeb site (http://www.libraries.wvu.edu/) and making an online request.

Journal articles account for most requests and are fulfilled electronically. After receiving a request, staff scan the articles into PDF format and e-mail them. Books are delivered to the users desired campus library.

Its about storage and retrieval,Jenkins said.It doesnt do any good to store something if you cant retrieve it and make it available to our users.

OBrien agreed, citing the quick turnaround on requests.

Weve developed excellent inventory, requesting and delivery systems that have been in use since 2000,OBrien said.Its as much about service and successful preservation as it is mitigating space issues.