This week I went to an open house at the Ivy Stacks. The Ivy Stacks are the University of Virginia library system’s remote storage facility, where tons and tons of books are housed in boxes on high-rise shelves, which the staff traverse on machines that look like a cross between a forklift and a cherry-picker. I immediately wished I had a camera, because this picture, while it gives some idea of what the stacks look like, doesn’t quite convey the sheer scale (think several stories of very long shelves filled with book-boxes) or the slightly eerie yellow lighting, which is designed to keep the books from excessive light exposure but which reminded me oddly of my elementary school gym. It was like Borges’ Library of Babel, only without the hexagonal layout.

3 Responses to “Borgesian”

  1. Frolic says:

    I’ve ordered many books from there, but I’ve never actually been.

  2. Steve Krause says:

    This looks a bit like the storage facility that is at EMU’s Halle Library. I don’t know if it is as big as UVa (probably not), but it robotically controlled– no librarians on fork lifts– and it is actually used for more routine storage. It’s pretty freaky to watch it working.

  3. Rana says:

    I can’t decide whether it’s cool or creepy, rather like the whole concept of rolling stacks (I always worry that I’m going to get squished in them). It’s rather Raiders of the Lost Ark-esque, isn’t it?