The British Library is saving stuff. What stuff? Everything. 12.5km of shelf space per year… Now to store it all. But what’s actually worth storing? Sounds a macro version of the situation Casa del Ninja.
The warehouse is extraordinary because, unlike all those monstrous Tesco and Amazon depositories that litter the fringes of the motorways of the Midlands, it is being meticulously constructed to house things that no one wants. When it is complete next year, this warehouse will be state-of-the-art, containing 262 linear kilometres of high-density, fully automated storage in a low-oxygen environment. It will house books, journals and magazines that many of us have forgotten about or have never heard of in the first place.
Chris Fletcher, the warehouse’s project manager for the past 11 months, is extremely proud of it. “Normal atmosphere consists 20% oxygen. This will regulate oxygen in the warehouse to between 15.8 and 16.2%, with a mean of 16%, which will ensure minimal damage to the books in store. The air-conditioning will ensure 52.5% humidity plus or minus 5%. It will ensure a steady state temperature. The whole building will be sealed to protect the contents. It will,” he says puffing his chest a little, “comply with British Standard 5454. Amazing, isn’t it?”