Core Library Storage Interest Group

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Purpose: Provides a forum for exchanging ideas on the planning, design, development, operation, management, and/or dismantling of library collection storage.

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This interest group is part of Core's Buildings and Operations Section.

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  • 1.  Bins for transit of material

    Posted Oct 15, 2021 11:33 AM
    Good Friday afternoon -- 

    I'm interested in hearing about what kind of bins everyone uses to transport material from their storage location to circulation desks on campus. We currently use postal bins -- they're that plastic corrugated material and have no lids. 
    I'd like to transition to using lidded bins (aka totes) and am interested in hearing about:

    • what size bin(s) are generally used;
      • do you use a mix of bin sizes to accommodate different sized material? what sizes?
    • do you use dedicated bins for each stop?
      • if yes, how do you label the bins and how many bins do you have dedicated per location stop?
      • if not, how do you label a bin for each stop?
      • do you use color coded bins? 
    • what vendor you used to supply the bins?
    • durability of bins
    I see ULINE has a product of Round Trip totes which are basically what I'm thinking of when I say "lidded bins"
    Round Trip Totes, Flip Top Storage Bins in Stock - ULINE
    Uline remove preview
    Round Trip Totes, Flip Top Storage Bins in Stock - ULINE
    Uline stocks a huge selection of round trip totes and flip top storage bins. Order by 6 pm for same day shipping. Huge Catalog! Over 38,500 products in stock. 12 Locations across USA, Canada and Mexico for fast delivery of Wholesale Round Trip Totes.
    View this on Uline >

    Thank you! I'm looking forward to hearing what everyone uses.


    Katia Strieck
    Director (interim), LIBRA
    Head, Metadata Services
    University of Pennsylvania Libraries
    3420 Walnut St., Philadelphia, 19104
    215.475.2225 (voice & text)

    Katia Strieck
    University of Pennsylvania

  • 2.  RE: Bins for transit of material

    Posted Oct 18, 2021 07:07 AM

    Hi Katia,


    We mostly use the totes you have, but also use totes that have a separate, solid lid. There are advantages and disadvantages to both. In general, if your shipping staff have to truck materials outside and will not cover the totes, I would suggest a solid lid. If there are good docks, or shipping staff will cover totes in the event of inclement weather, the folding lids can be easier to manage. In either case, we use foam in the inside to protect materials and ensure they don't move around. I think the most common size we use is ~20"x14"x12".


    Let me know if you have further questions,




    Ian Bogus

    Executive Director

    Research Collections and Preservation Consortium (ReCAP)

    400 Forrestal Road

    Princeton, NJ 08540

    T. 609.258.1517

    F. 609.258.7633

    Pronouns: he, him, his


  • 3.  RE: Bins for transit of material

    Posted Oct 19, 2021 07:59 AM

    Hi Katia,


    A previous institution I worked at used those same bins.


    • We bought a variety of sizes to accommodate varying load and material sizes.


    • We did not have dedicated bins for each stop.


      • We had laminated labels with all the campus libraries and checked the libraries with a wet-erase marker if there were items going there (we were sure to have transit labels in the books themselves, too). That way we were able to put items for several libraries in one bin.
      • The libraries as a whole used green bins for campus deliveries and red bins for materials going to other libraries in our consortium.


    • I think we bought them direct from Uline, but am not sure.


    • They are very good and sturdy.


    Hope this helps!





    Charlotte M. Johnson (she/her) | @liber_aesthete

    Research Collection Coordinator, ULS Thomas Blvd

    University Library System

    University of Pittsburgh


    --I'm voting "United Steelworkers" in Union of Pitt Faculty Election!--


  • 4.  RE: Bins for transit of material

    Posted Oct 19, 2021 09:43 AM
    Hi Katia,

    We also use the Uline bins above, I think S-20588 (ours are approximately 20x14x9).  We typically have 4-6 totes picked up each day. Our shipping is centralized in the main library, so they take our totes there and sort for the different library locations. We do pre-pack and label any padded mailers that are going to campus offices/through campus mail, and add those to the totes. We use grey bins for most everything, with green used for preservation and red for disaster response.

    Neither of our loading dock areas (at main or at the facility) are covered, and so we do have to be particularly mindful if there's rain, snow, etc., though they are only outside long enough to be brought in from the truck so we haven't had any significant issues.

    Warm wishes,

    Jennifer Maddox Abbott
    Collection Management Librarian
    University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign