Downsview Tour with U of T’s CAPAL Chapter

On Friday October 14 some of Western’s CAPAL members made the trek to Toronto to meet up with U of T’s CAPAL chapter and tour the University of Toronto Libraries Downsivew facility.  Downsivew is a high density storage facility for U of T and, hopefully one day, several other university Libraries across the province.

Although rather unassuming from the outside…


…the facility currently holds over 2.5 million volumes with approximately 10,000 new books being added every week!  As libraries at U of T weed their collections every book they are getting rid of makes its way to Downsivew.  Books are sorted and stored by size, with a barcode for every book, box, and shelf. Only 1% of the books that end up here are ever requested again.  Busy days at the height of the academic term see requests for 100 books while slow days in the summer see only 20 or so.


Books are sorted and stored by size and placed in the appropriate box


The books are placed on the shelving…


…and then picked up by a person driving this!


The books seem to go on….


… and on …


… and up … forever!

We thank everyone at UTL Downsview for taking the time to show us their amazing facility and answer all of our questions. It was a fantastic tour and a great opportunity to see libraries from another system.

After the tour we met with the members of U of T’s CAPAL chapter. It was a great opportunity to get to know our future colleagues and learn about another MLIS program. Many thanks to U of T’s CAPAL chapter for allowing us the opportunity to join their tour. We hope we can extend the same favour in the future!




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