Great British Bake Off’s Sandi Toksvig book becomes one millionth entry at £17m Cambridge University storage facility in Ely

PUBLISHED: 15:17 06 February 2020 | UPDATED: 15:17 06 February 2020

Sandi Toksvig's (left) book 'Toksvig's Guide to France' has become the one millionth entry at Cambridge University Library's storage facility in Ely. Pictures: Ian West/PA Wire/PA Images/Cambridge University

Sandi Toksvig's (left) book 'Toksvig's Guide to France' has become the one millionth entry at Cambridge University Library's storage facility in Ely. Pictures: Ian West/PA Wire/PA Images/Cambridge University

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A children’s language book written by comedian Sandi Toksvig has become the one millionth entry to take its place in Cambridge University Library’s Ely storage facility, just 18 months since it opened.

Inside the storage facility in Ely, which can house up to 4.5 million books belonging to Cambridge University and other university collections. Pictures: CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITYInside the storage facility in Ely, which can house up to 4.5 million books belonging to Cambridge University and other university collections. Pictures: CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY

'Toksvig's Guide to France' now joins a wide variety of material ranging from the Harry Potter novels to the Puffin Book of Nursery Rhymes at the £17 million library storage facility (LSF).

The LSF, which opened in May 2018 on the Lancaster Way Business Park, was built to house low-usage material and currently receives between 7,000-10,000 items for storage each week.

Robin James, head of collections logistics and services at Cambridge University Library, said: "It has been a fantastic project to be involved in and is very different from anything the Library has done before.

"To have transferred over a million items in such a short period of time has been a great team achievement and I'm delighted to continue managing the LSF and collection logistics in this new environment." 

Inside the storage facility in Ely, which can house up to 4.5 million books belonging to Cambridge University and other university collections. Pictures: CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITYInside the storage facility in Ely, which can house up to 4.5 million books belonging to Cambridge University and other university collections. Pictures: CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY

Since 1710, Cambridge University Library has been one of six 'legal deposit' libraries entitled to claim a copy of every book published in the UK and Ireland.

But despite the introduction of an electronic legal deposit in 2013, the library has been close to bursting point. Depending on the scale of ingest, the LSF, which can hold up to 4.5m books, could be 50 per cent full in around 30 months' time.

Dr Jessica Gardner, Cambridge University librarian, said: "For more than 600 years, Cambridge University Library has been a cathedral of knowledge, collecting and preserving one of the world's most important and priceless collections of books, maps and manuscripts.

"To make sure we can continue to preserve what is so precious - and meet our ambitions to be a truly global, 21st century collection - we have to make the most effective use of space possible."

Inside the storage facility in Ely, which can house up to 4.5 million books belonging to Cambridge University and other university collections. Pictures: CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITYInside the storage facility in Ely, which can house up to 4.5 million books belonging to Cambridge University and other university collections. Pictures: CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY

The Ely store is currently receiving on average 58 requests a week for LSF items from readers, and requests are monitored to deem whether an item should be labelled as 'low-usage' or returned to general circulation.

Toksvig, former co-host of The Great British Bake Off and also an alumnus of Girton College, is featured in 'The Rising Tide: Women at Cambridge' exhibition open at the University Library until March 21.

Inside the storage facility in Ely, which can house up to 4.5 million books belonging to Cambridge University and other university collections. Pictures: CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITYInside the storage facility in Ely, which can house up to 4.5 million books belonging to Cambridge University and other university collections. Pictures: CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY

Inside the storage facility in Ely, which can house up to 4.5 million books belonging to Cambridge University and other university collections. Pictures: CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITYInside the storage facility in Ely, which can house up to 4.5 million books belonging to Cambridge University and other university collections. Pictures: CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY

Inside the storage facility in Ely, which can house up to 4.5 million books belonging to Cambridge University and other university collections. Pictures: CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITYInside the storage facility in Ely, which can house up to 4.5 million books belonging to Cambridge University and other university collections. Pictures: CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY

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