Case Study

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  • Duration
  • 60 Days
  • universal-commercial-relocation-case-study-icon-books.png
  • Books Moved
  • 165,000
  • universal-commercial-relocation-case-study-icon-buildings
  • Buildings
  • 3
  • universal-commercial-relocation-case-study-icon-linear-metres
  • Linear Metres
  • 5,000
  • universal-commercial-relocation-case-study-icon-education
  • Sector
  • Education

Executive summary

City University is a public research university located in London and currently has over 18,000 students (46% at postgraduate level) from more than 150 countries and staff from over 75 countries. Ranked in the top 5% of world universities according to The Times Education World University Rankings 2015, City University has its main campus in the Islington area of central London, with additional campuses in the City of London and the Holborn, Smithfield and Whitechapel areas of London. It is organised into five Schools — Cass Business School, School of Health Sciences, School of Mathematics, Computer Science & Engineering and The City Law School, within which there are around 40 academic departments and centres, all requiring access to library materials, books and publications.

Universal has conducted many successful moves on behalf of City University, its schools, departments and libraries.


Universal has a longstanding relationship with several large academic institutes and is well-versed in specialist library, academic, postgrad, research and laboratory moves for City University and other schools and Universities. Three major projects undertaken recently by Universal on behalf of City University include:

• The packing and storage off-site of 3,300 linear metres of stock, breakdown and clearance of old library and the decant of stock back onto shelves when the library had been refurbished.

• The merger of stock from Whitechapel and West Smithfield libraries into the main collection at Northampton Square when the other two sites closed.

• The packing, dismantling, rebuilding and decant of the Law library collection into an interim space before the final relocation when the new building was complete. This process involved detailed mapping of journals, books and law reports to fit temporary library and the thinning out of duplicate publications.

Library moves not only involve a large amount of packing and unpacking, but can be further complicated by the fact that during a move, a library may use the opportunity to rationalise or amalgamate collections from different sites, as happened with several of the City University Library moves. Placing each item back in its new and correct position in accordance with the Dewey Decimal System requires meticulous planning and familiarity with library relocations.

How Universal delivered

Universal has a strong and proud history in delivering library and archive moves. Familiarity with collection amalgamation, and library moves in general means Universal is able to offer a highly experienced team of professionals to assist with library moves and relocations. Detailed preparation and an in-depth knowledge of delivering successful library moves has enabled Universal to develop scaleable methodologies and practices for library and archive moves. Typically, library moves are conducted out of term or out-of-hours. Speed of delivery, flexibility, attention to detail, and a right first time approach are key components in Universal’s approach to library and archive relocations.

Even though full-time students may not need access to books if the move is conducted outside term-time, there may still be a requirement for access by lecturers, researches or academics. Through sensible and sensitive use of appropriate techniques and methodologies, Universal ensures that books are moved quickly and efficiently to their new locations.

Universal were able to assist with temporary off-site storage and retrieval available for client’s use during relocations, with the books being transported to Universal’s secure storage facilities via a range of vehicles, from small transit-style vans to 40ft. trailers, all equipped with air-ride suspension and tail lifts of various sizes.

Results, Return on Investment and Future Plans

Universal’s experience in conducting small and large scale library, museum and archive moves and relocations means that Universal can respond quickly to customer’s requirements, delivering a prompt, efficient and effective move whilst facilitating access to books and publications where necessary throughout the project.

Client feedback

Derek MacKenzie (Head of User Services)

“Library Services at City University London have worked with Universal Commercial Relocations on a number of stock and furniture moves since 2011. These have included the relocation of library stock from a specialist Health Sciences Library at Whitechapel and West Smithfield into the large, multi-disciplinary main campus Library, involving the integration of around 12000 items into an existing book sequence of more than 150,000 items. The projects have also involved dismantling of library furnishings, relocating and reassembling these at new locations. Throughout our experience of working with Universal, we have found them to be efficient and diligent in carrying out the required duties and courteous and responsive to requests for changes to the scope of our projects. They have also been proactive in identifying solutions to any problems arising in the course of these moves.”