The collections of the National Library (NL) are kept in two underground stacks, which have sufficient space to meet archiving needs until 2038.

Maps are archived in drawers.
© NB, Simon Schmid

The closed stacks are not accessible to users. They currently hold more than 5.6 million units on 63,000 linear metres of shelving. This figure grows by 1,300 linear metres each year, corresponding to around 70,000 documents.

Modern technology

The stacks are fully air-conditioned and ventilated with filtered air. On each floor the climate is computer-controlled, with the temperature maintained at 18°C and humidity at 45%. Documents are moved around using our Swisslog transport system: 34 trolleys with a carrying capacity of 15 kg convey them to our circulation desk in around three minutes. Each week, some 5,000–6,000 different items enter and leave the stacks.

Custom-made equipment

The NL employs state-of-the-art storage, optimising both ergonomics and conservation. The stacks are equipped with mobile shelving 14 metres in length and drawers. To save space and maximise the available area, 98% of the installation is mobile and was custom-made to accommodate the various collections.

Arrangement by format

The stacks hold a wide range of collections comprising multiple formats, forms and materials: books, periodicals, maps, posters, music scores and audiovisual media.  Documents are arranged by format on shelves or in drawers. They can be collected from the circulation desk 30 minutes after they are ordered. Their condition is checked after use and then they are returned to the stacks.

Facts and figures

East stack

  • Year of opening: 1997
  • Underground levels: 7
  • Depth: 27 metres
  • Available surface area:  5,600 m2
  • Used for: monograph documents

West stack

  • Year of opening: 2009
  • Underground levels: 4
  • Depth: 18 metres
  • Available surface area:  6,300 m2
  • Used for: periodicals

Last modification 20.11.2018

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Swiss National Library
Preservation and Conservation
Hallwylstrasse 15
3003 Bern
Phone +41 58 465 00 12
Fax +41 58 462 84 63

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