The Library's Store Service

UCL Library holds between 1.5 and 2 million volumes and subscribes to 10,000 journals. Most of these items are held in the various sites in and around Gower Street. However, the finite space of the central buildings means that not all of the Library's collections can be housed here. To cope with this, UCL has a "store" outside London where a proportion of its books and journals are kept.

The Library's Store at Wickford, Essex, was opened three years ago. It is a huge, modern warehouse, fitted out with 140 rolling stacks. Each stack is double-sided, ten shelves high and nine bays wide, allowing nearly 200 metres of shelving on each rolling stack: 21,500 metres in total. The Store is staffed by a full-time Site Manager as well as various part-time assistants.

The sort of material held at Wickford is mainly older and less frequently used books and journals. Although forty miles away, it is served by a daily courier service and any item can be supplied by 3pm on the next working day if a request is made. Nothing rare or valuable is stored at Wickford - such items are now chiefly housed at 140 Hampstead Road, the new site for Special Collections.

The Library shares the space at Wickford with the UCL Records Office, who have some 12,000 boxes stored there. Currently UCL is occupying only half of the available space in the warehouse, the other half having been rented out commercially until recently. It is now planned to take over the remaining space and double storage capacity. This will allow the Store to cope with items sent from the central sites over the next decade and is timely: the first half of the warehouse will effectively be filled by the end of 2002.

Other future plans include the expansion of the Store's scanning service for UCL members, by which journal articles are sent in electronic format to the Stores Desk and the requestor is given a paper printout.

Items from the Wickford Store are delivered daily to the Science Library in the DMS Watson Building. In term-time, as many as 150 - 200 items arrive each day. There is a dedicated Stores Desk on the ground floor of the Science Library, open from 15:00 to 17:00 each day, although available items can be picked up from the adjacent Science Library Issue Desk outside these hours.

Users who require a book or journal from the Store must order it electronically. There is a special request form on the Library's web pages (details below) or the order can be made directly via the Library's catalogue by clicking on the "request" option. Alternatively, the details can be emailed to As much detail as possible should be included and, if possible, an email address or contact telephone number.

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