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Luxembourg National Library

Shelves for Luxembourg's biggest library.

Another successful item has been added to the Forster list of reference projects: our subsidiary Arbitec-Forster supplied the shelving for the biggest scientific library in Luxembourg.

After five years of construction, the elegant new building of the Luxembourg National Library opened in late September 2019. The biggest scientific library of the country had to move to new quarters since the seven locations that had previously stored its stocks no longer offered satisfactory conservation conditions. Accordingly, some 1.8 million paper documents – books, journals, newspapers and maps – and other items were moved to their new home. 

User-friendly on many levels
The new single depot of the National Library extends over five levels, each of which is divided into twelve rooms. The storage space, totalling 110 kilometres in the five-level magazine, was mostly fitted with mobile shelving. A crank-drive and plenty of accessories cover everything customers might need. Perforated end panels ensure that the material archived in the air-conditioned rooms is well ventilated. Flat items in A0 and extralarge formats are placed in special cabinets where drawings and maps can be properly stored with due care. The paintings are similarly stored with due regard to specific requirements: the picture panels can be pulled out to increase user-friendliness. Installation and fitting works proceeded with the same degree of flexibility: rails were placed into the floor screed already in the summer of 2016. Delivery and installation were cued to the general pace of the construction works so that the mobile shelves and shelving systems filled the open-access areas in step with the building’s progress.

Stunning open-access area
While magazines are not accessible to visitors, a large, stunningly designed area in the new library is available for use by the general public. More than 200,000 books are stored on Forster-made shelves in reading rooms on three storeys. The stationary shelves are of the case type. As in every library, the national library uses a comprehensive set of accessories: among them are suspended and sliding bookends to keep books in place, and journal bins in non-standard formats to utilise the entire width of the bay.

A brainy solution for ventilation and lighting
At a height of 220 mm, bay plinths accommodate integrated ventilation slits for heating and air-conditioning the open-access area. Already during the planning stage, the building services engineers marked out bays that were readied by Forster for subsequent fitting of heat exchangers. The bays in the reading area were generally provided with five shelves, except for the front area where the height was reduced to two or three shelves. The mediatheque has some of its bays split into seven shelves. Customising the design in the open-access area also included shelf lighting. Forster integrated retractable LED lights in the top panels as well as dimmable LED light strips in the shelf panels and floor lamps on single elements.

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