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High-density storage for academic, public and governmental libraries

The Minnesota Library Access Center (MLAC) is our high-density storage facility for Minnesota libraries that stores and makes available important but little used books. Located under the Elmer L. Andersen Library, it shelves items by size, not by subject or alphabetically as in a library. The goal is to shelve at the highest density possible to maximize space usage. MLAC's Operating Principles and Guidelines provide more detail about the facility and its use, including its mission, vision, governance, and the responsibilities of depositing libraries.

Facility & Storage Capacity

  • MLAC opened in January 2000 and is located in the north cavern excavated under the Elmer L. Andersen Library on the West Bank of the University of Minnesota's Twin Cities campus.
  • Built with a predicted capacity of 1.4 million volumes.
  • Currently holds over 1.5 million volumes.
  • Storage is at capacity and no new collections are accepted for deposit.


  • MLAC holds important but little used materials from libraries across Minnesota, including public, academic, and governmental libraries.
  • Books and journals are stored by size in trays on shelving 17 feet tall. Items are retrieved by staff using a forklift.
  • The collections are closed to the public. All items in MLAC are listed in MNCAT, the University of Minnesota's online catalog.

Environmental Conditions

  • Year-round temperature is maintained at 60 degrees Fahrenheit (+- 2.5 degrees).
  • Relative humidity is maintained at 50% (+- 4%).