Lower Vault

The lower vault is located beneath the Security Copy Depository. It provides archival storage for media such as photographs, tapes and motion picture films. Most of these records were separated from their related paper based records when they were accessioned into the holdings of the Archives. Temperature is set at 55° Fahrenheit and relative humidity at 40%, both slightly lower than in the stacks to better preserve the media.

Compact Shelving

Since the floor space of the vaults is limited, compact shelving is used. This moveable system nearly doubles the storage capacity. Rows of shelf units are placed on specially built tracks or rails running the length of the floor. These rows can be easily shifted in both directions to allow access to any row. The result is that only one aisle space is open at a time allowing for efficient use of space.

Shelving units with spinning handles on ends.
Only one aisle is open at a time to make more efficient use of space. Handles on the end of each shelf unit spin easily to move units in either direction.
Floor of the lower vault shows the tracks the shelving units glide on.
Rails run parallel to the direction of travel for shelf units. Wood floors are fitted flush with the rails to make the system safe for walking and using carts and ladders.

Since the records are stored more densely, they also expose less surface area in the event of a fire and so are less likely to suffer damage.

The floors of the storage areas have been engineered to handle the increased weight of the more densely stored records. As a result, this efficient system can be used in the larger stacks as storage demands require.
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Rows of shelves on tracks allowing them to roll across the floor hold boxes and files.
The lower vault holds mostly legislative audio tapes, but also media such as photographs and films.