Library Relocations services

Library moves

Library Relocations

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Library Relocations

Restore Harrow Green is the UK's leading library relocations company, with over 30 years experience of packing and handling general and special library collections, artefacts and rare or precious items. Our library and archive experts have skills and knowledge in wrapping, packing and moving books and materials, sequential moving, shelf re-pitching, Dewey, Congress and Binary classification systems, including merging and separating book collections. 

Library Storage

We can provide National Conservation Service (NCS) approved library storage facilities, implement speedy retrieval services and dispose of unwanted books through charity partners. Libraries trust us with their collections because of our experience, expertise and track record of delivering successful projects.

moving library collections

moving a library collection

Moving Library Collections

Our experts have knowledge of the best methods and materials for moving and storing libraries. They know exactly how to handle, wrap, pack and move books, documents, pamphlets, plans, drawings, maps, artefacts and paintings. Our team also have experience in handling, wrapping and moving audio and visual materials such as film cans, wax cylinders, videos, CDs, DVDs, audio tapes, vinyl records and sheet music. We have been entrusted with wrapping, packing and moving general and special collections, including rare and fragile items, many of which are irreplaceable. Examples include the Spencer collection, the Crawford collection, the Sudan archive and a very important medical archive dating from the early 1800s. We also helped Durham Cathedral move items which had not been moved since the building opened in 1680 including a document dating from the fifth century. We know that security and the safe, protected handling of library and archive materials is paramount.



Planning Library Moves

Every project we undertake benefits from one of our library and archive experts visiting the site to learn about the items to be moved and understand the customer's requirements and desired outcome. This enables us to meticulously plan the library move and to arrange for the provision of bespoke boxes, crates, equipment and materials to ensure that every items is properly taken care of, with nothing left to chance. There is no 'one size fits all' plan or schedule as we appreciate each institution and its holdings are unique. Every customer is assigned a dedicated on-site library moving expert, to help plan, prepare and supervise the project.

We also appoint a dedicated move manager who will give you invaluable support on risk management, planning, methodologies, insurance and programme timescales. Some projects, especially whole library relocations, can take several weeks or months and involve many stakeholders. We will create detailed daily schedules that are unique to the project and work co-operatively with contracts, architects and other suppliers.

moving libraryLibrary Moves: Methods and Materials

Our unique methods involve an expert team of library moving specialists who have an interest in library and archive collections and take personal pride in the job they do. When handling rare, precious or fragile books our experts wear special gloves which are acid and powder free to prevent unwanted acid migration to books. They also use inert packing materials such as anti-acid tissue paper to carefully wrap rare, fragile and valuable books. Special acid free binder folders with protective coverings are used to safeguard detached or damaged covers and to isolate books with severe red rot and oxidisation.

We take special care to ensure that books are carefully placed in boxes or crates (as appropriate) to relieve any pressure on the spines and binding. Paperbacks or softbacks are carefully handled to avoid creasing the spines and turning up the page edges. Rolled up materials such as plans and maps are placed in cardboard tubing to keep them protected. Tight packaging stops any items from moving and getting damaged while being moved. Where necessary we will surround books and items with protective materials. If required we can supply temperature controlled transportation.

Working in partnership with librarians and archivists we have gained experience and skills in sequential moving and merging and separating book collections as required. We can measure and map library spaces and shelving so that the shelving will be at the correct height at the new location. As items and shelves are moved around we will arrange holding areas for stock and dismantle and re-assemble shelves.

Library Storage Access

It is essential that library users and conservation staff can access books and other materials so we offer an easy to use digital retrieval service using barcode tagging and online tracking systems to provide speedy access to materials in storage or in transit. Reading or display areas can also be provided. Boxes and pallets with identification markings, including colour coding and barcodes for sequence in the new location are used to enable easy transfer and identification. Our team are also experienced in handling lektrievers, rotary storage and mobile storage systems.

Additional Library Services

We have many delighted library, archive and museum customers, who have appreciated our complete one stop service, which helps to reduce costs and the need to deal with multiple contractors. We also move and store office furniture, kitchen and communal furniture and items, equipment, AV and IT and can arrange of disposal of any unwanted assets through our environmental Refresh programme. This includes IT kit and servers where we can securely remove data and arrange zero to landfill disposal. Where there is a need for storage we can undertake the move and provide secure and temperature controlled storage facilities.

Specialist Library Storage

 Library RelocationThrough our sister company Restore and in partnership with the National Conservation Service (NCS) we have converted Upper Heyford air base (a Cold War historical monument) into twenty first century heritage storage buildings. The NCS chose Restore as their heritage storage partner as they met the very strict heritage storage criteria that was demanded. Upper Heyford offers storage space that meets the storage requirements of BS 4971:2017. In addition the site is bomb, flood and fire proof and pest free which keeps precious materials safe and sound. Modern techniques allow us to provide atmosphere controlled suites. Contract lengths are flexible according to what customers require and costs are competitive.

Restore also obtained the former stone quarry at Monkton Farleigh Mine which was turned into a sophisticated storage centre. The mine offered two immediate benefits; the area was already secure due its nature and had vast square footage. Using cutting edge technology the space was adapted to store documents, books, archives and other materials in constant temperature and humidity controlled environments. The space is incredibly flexible; and allows for private vaults, open book storage and shared storage which suits a wide variety of customer needs. 

To download our library relocation guide click here.

Our library and archive moving services:

  • Moves and secure storage of books, maps, drawings, plans, photographs, audio, visual and all other archival materials
  • Book dusting and auditing
  • Shelf dismantling, installation and re-pitching
  • Special collection wrapping, packing and moving
  • Book and materials retrieval service
  • Removal and storage of furniture, AV and IT
  • Disposal of books, furniture, equipment, AV and IT through our environmental Refresh programme
  • Project and move management
  • Secure and temperature controlled storage space (NCS and BS 4971:2017 approved)

Our skills, experience and expertise include:

  • A long history of library and archive moves 
  • Demonstrable understanding of how libraries and archives work
  • An understanding of different library shelving and classification systems (Dewey, Congress and Binary)
  • Knowledge and ability to use the right materials and methods for handling, packing and moving items
  • Expertise in handling, packing and moving precious and fragile books and items
  • Skills in packing and moving books and materials sequentially and merging and separating book collections
  • Outstanding project management and planning skills
  • Insurance and risk assessment support
  • Ability to work with other service providers such as trade contracts and architects