DAHSL: Developing Academic Health Sciences Libraries


a collaboration to create the 21st century academic health sciences library…

How Many Linear Feet of Shelving Should We Plan For?

Below is a compilation of responses:  Thanks, Colleagues!!!

Hi Jacque,

At FIU we’ve got 3,300 linear feet – but it was inherited and we don’t need it.  About half is filled with ‘gifts’ we were forced to take.  With fewer stacks, I wouldn’t have had to take them. So there’s a caution in oversizing, eh?

In reality, we figured that one double-sided range of 144 linear feet (48 shelves) would last us about 6 years or more before de-acquisitioning for older materials.  That’s buying 150 print books a year (all required curriculum texts, and the recommended curriculum texts that are not in e-format) for the Med 01 and Med 02 classes.  Everything else, of course, is in E-format.

Figuring that we are not a retrospective research library and would cull older textbooks after 5-8 years, two double-sided ranges would last 15-20 years.  By then, everything in biomedicine will be in E-format. Only a few key required textbooks might be needed in print for back-up for when someone pulls the cord out of the wall.  I don’t know if that all makes sense.  But I’ll be monitoring the results from a Lazy-Boy with the built-in refrigerator and three position stick-shift reclining seat.

David W. Boilard
Director, Medical Library
Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine – GL 324
Florida International University
11200 SW 8th St.
Miami, FL 33199
(305) 348-0643 phone
(305) 348-0631 fax

Hi Jacque,

I had the same question, but went with my same #, since we planned to go electronic, and it’s worked just fine.

And in case you need it, MLA Guide to Managing Health Care Libraries has a great chapter on space planning. Got it? If not, I’d be glad to loan. I could mail it, bring it to AAHSL, if you’re going, or fax you the chapter.

The right information is good medicine.
Jane Bridges, ML, AHIP
Associate Director – Savannah Campus
Health Sciences Library
Mercer University School of Medicine
Memorial University Medical Center
P.O. Box 23089 / 4700 Waters Ave.
Savannah, GA   31404
(912) 350-8124, fax (912) 350-8685


Hi Jacque,

In our interim blg. at Hofstra we managed to include in the plan 210 linear feet of stacks. However, it was required that they be located in a consolidated area by the front desk that can be locked when the library is not staffed so that the rest of the library can be open 24/7.  We will see how well that will work.  There was no space allocated for print journals.  The interim bldg. is expected to be occupied for about 4 years.


Debra Rand
Asst. Dean and Director, Health Science Libraries
Hofstra University School of Medicine in partnership with North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System
Library Director, Long Island Jewish Medical Center
New Hyde Park, NY 11040

Dear Jacque,

We have just completed our planning for the new building. We calculated that we will need 300 linear feet of stacks. With the idea that as titles become available electronically we will be removing the titles from the shelves and that the print collection will shrink as time goes on. But to make some folks here happy, we planned for 4 ranges at waist height of shelving for our planned 700 print titles. We also planned for 20 print journals to be housed in a special print journals shelving. Again this was planned to make certain stakeholders happy. We also planned for lockable shelving for our prized textbooks that are on reserve. Thus making the space a 24/7 space should the need arise. We are in the final stages of working with the electrical engineers to drill the floor boxes for power and data based on our final furniture plans. We plan on moving into our new space in June 2010.

See you all in Boston soon.


Nadine Dexter, M.L.S., AHIP
Director – Harriet F. Ginsburg Health Sciences Library
Director Medical Informatics
University of Central Florida
College of Medicine
12201 Research Parkway
Orlando, FL 32816-0116
407-823-1856 FAX




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