Post by Jerry Friedman Post by Peter Duncanson [BrE] Post by GordonD Post by Jerry Friedman Post by John Varela Post by occam
How do you go about quantifying "53 linear miles of shelving"? A three
meter wide book-shelf with, say, 6 tiers counts as 30 linear meters or 3
To me, the width of the shelf is the distance that it projects from
the wall, and distance along the wall is the shelf's length. So,
what you describe is not a three-meter-wide shelf, it is a
To me, a shelf doesn't have tiers; the tiers are the shelves. So
I mentally changed "A three meter wide bookshelf with 6 tiers"
to "A three-meter-wide bookcase with six shelves." However, Google
knows of people who refer to the whole many-shelved furniture item
as a bookshelf.
In a library those can be "the stacks", but do people refer to
To me a stack of books is piled up on the floor.
Not ideal in a library!
In library science and architecture, a stack or bookstack (often
referred to as a library building's stacks) is a book storage area,
as opposed to a reading area. More specifically, this term refers to
a narrow-aisled, multilevel system of iron or steel shelving that
evolved in the nineteenth century to meet increasing demands for
storage space. An "open-stack" library allows its patrons to
enter the stacks to browse for themselves; "closed stacks" means
library staff retrieve books for patrons on request.
I first came across that specialised use of stack in a university
library. There was an area open to users. A separate storage area not
open to users was described as "the stacks".
I had a similar experience, though I'm having the vague feeling that
some users could get permission to go into "the stacks".
Cornell had an undergraduate library (the old and complex Uris Library),
which was completely open-stack, and a graduate library, Olin Library
(paid for by a defense contractor that built buildings in universities
all over the country), that was open stacks for graduate students and
faculty, closed stacks for undergraduates; but it wasn't too hard to get
a year-long stack pass with an application signed by a faculty member.
Since then they've built a vast underground facility whose status I do not
know. So has the University of Chicago, which has meant that nearly every-
thing from before the mid 20th century is now sequestered in closed stacks
and the very reason for a huge library -- the serendipitous opportunities
afforded by browsing -- is vitiated.
Post by Jerry Friedman
The most fun, of course, are the mobile shelves.
When the Crerar Library was moved from the Illinois Institute of Technology
campus to the University of Chicago campus, because it had been horribly
vandalized/looted since it had moved there, it got acres, or so it seemed,
of such "compact storage."
Chicago has two private research libraries, the Newberry, on the North Side,
whose remit was Humanities (among its celebrated collections are History of
the Book, Maps, and Library Science), and the Crerar, on the South Side,
whose remit was Sciences. It holds one of the few copies in private hands
(they printed enough to give one to each senator and representative, who
had no use for them, and maybe one for each state library) of the Reports
of the United States Exploring Expedition of 1841-42 -- which vastly
increased knowledge of the Pacific Ocean and the Northwest Coast of North
America, and whose collections formed the nucleus of the Smithsonian
Institution (founded in 1840) 's holdings. When I needed to consult the
Ethnology volumes, I found that the set was far from complete.
The Chicago Public Library was in on the deal and was to specialize in Arts.
Post by Jerry Friedman Post by Peter Duncanson [BrE]
In 1857, multilevel stacks with grated iron floors were installed in
the British Library.
I assume "the grated iron floors" were not made from iron that had been
grated in the same way as "grated cheese".
Some parts of Uris had that sort of floor. So did the Brooklyn Bridge,
originally. They reduce weight without decreasing strength, but they're