Students at the University of New Mexico may have noticed flagged, stacks of books indicating the early stages of the University's process of moving books from Zimmerman Library to the South Campus Repository. 

Over the next three years UNM's Libraries will be relocating a chunk of their resources to the future South Campus Repository (SCR), a climate-controlled library facility on South Campus. 

UNM currently adds more than 20,000 physical resources to its libraries each year.

"It takes about half a mile of shelving, roughly the distance on Central (Avenue) between Yale (Boulevard) and Girard (Boulevard), to shelve that amount of new material," said Cindy Pierard, director of access services and undergraduate engagement. 

The SCR is projected to have capacity for around 1.6 million items. 

"It will take years to identify, select, process and relocate that amount of material," Pierard said.

The repository, reported to open in 2022, will house less-used resources that no longer fit in UNM's other libraries— Zimmerman Library, the Fine Arts & Design Library, the Centennial Science & Engineering Library and the Parish Memorial Libraries.

"It is fairly typical, especially for large research libraries, to need extra space for their physical collections," said Pierard and Susanne Clement, director of collections. Pierard said the shelves at Main Campus are crowded, some of which are more than 85 percent full.

The University's subject librarians are currently working with faculty to determine which materials will be sent to the SCR, said Clement and Amy Jackson, director of instruction and outreach.

"Our colleagues at other libraries note that requests for loans of items in repositories is very low. We consider this a testament to the careful choices librarians make working closely with departments," Pierard said.

After the items are shelved and inventoried at the SCR, they will be available for use. Students can request resources, check them out or get scans of articles or chapters just as they can with Main campus collections, Pierard said. A courier will be at service to move items between campuses, allowing students to access items within 24 to 48 business hours.

"I have to emphasize that this is a deliberate process involving a few hundred pieces at a time. Materials will be prepped before they leave Central campus," Pierard said. "They will be bar-coded and will be carefully inventoried at the SCR itself so they can be retrieved for any researcher who might need them."

Pierard said that since Zimmerman first opened in 1938, the building has undergone two major additions, one in 1966 and one in 1973, more than tripling the original size of the library. UNM Libraries latest renovation was in 2014 with the addition of the Fine Arts and Design Library. 

The renovations opened up the Learning Commons, a studying space for UNM students on the first floor of the library, but did not create additional space to store resources.

During the last New Mexico State Legislature, UNM Libraries were allocated $1.14 million for shelving in the SCR. 

Shayla Cunico is the culture and music editor for the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at or on Twitter @ShaylaCunico.