Newcastle University library, UK

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Newcastle University library, UK - ConstructorGroup Library

New high-rise Compactus mobile shelving system  frees up vital study space for Newcastle University students. This required the relocation of 8,000 linear metres of books and journals from the Library to an offsite store. With its existing storage facility filled to capacity, the Library’s only practical long-term option was to establish a new off-site Library Research Reserve with some 24,000 linear metres of shelving for its 200,000+ books and journals.  

Newcastle University

Newcastle University is one of the country’s top educational institutions offering around 200 undergraduate degrees, and 300 postgraduate programmes and research degrees. Its Libraries include The Robinson Library, which is the main campus library, The Walton Medical and Dental Library, and the Law Library. 

The solution

New premises were found in nearby Gateshead. The Library considered various options to achieve its required capacity, such as installing a mezzanine floor, but even then static shelving could not provide enough storage. A block of high-rise mobile shelving was initially installed in 2010, which quickly proved its worth by simultaneously increasing capacity and optimising floor space, while maintaining 100% accessibility.

Following the trial, a competitive tender to design, supply and install a complete shelving solution was issued.

An 11-level high-rise Compactus® mobile shelving system from Bruynzeel was selected. In addition to the shelving for books and journals, Bruynzeel also installed mobile carriages fitted with 4m high mesh Picture Racking for the framed paintings belonging to the University.

To minimise disruption to the day-to-day operation of the Library, Bruynzeel phased its installation with the Library’s move management schedule. The new shelving was installed on a rolling programme to allow the Library to empty and dismantle the static shelving - to create the space - just ahead of the build programme of the mobile systems. Running in parallel was the re-fit of the Library that increased study space to 300 workstations with new desks, furniture and computer systems. 


  •  90 additional study spaces 
  • the Library Research Reserve facility now offers students a 24-hour delivery of a requested book or journal, as well as digital scans of articles.
  • On average the Library processes between 100 and 150 requests a week.
  • Library staff are now working even more productively 

 High-rise Compactus® mobile shelving system 

  • The new mobile shelving was configured as seven blocks with the original trial block balancing the layout, so that four banks face four across the wide central gangway.
  • The shelving was all 4m high, fitted with eleven 300mm deep shelves per bay, plus a dust cover shelf at the top.
  • To overcome any potential issues relating to the stability of the slender, 4m high mobile shelving, both overhead and undercarriage anti-tilt devices were employed.

This approach, together with twin positive-drive systems, ensured that the shelving moved smoothly, forwards and back, with no vertical sway.