Case Study: Library of Congress (LOC)


LOC Logo

84,000 Boxes of Treasured Historical Archives Demands Zero Loss. Interstate Logistics Delivered.

Case Study: Library of Congress (LOC), one of the world’s largest and oldest libraries collects and maintains records, books, articles, and other artifacts worldwide. This unparalleled resource contains hundreds of millions of items in hundreds of languages including rare book collections, films, music, and maps. It also holds patent and copyright information records, including some objects.

The Challenge

The documents and articles in archival storage are unreplaceable and vital to preserving history. Any movement of these materials requires extreme caution and great attention to detail.

Due to deterioration and age, the Library of Congress decided to relocate materials to new facilities from various locations. Over two years, the move phased department by department. One department, an archival warehouse in Landover, MD, required relocation of books, papers, recorded media, and unique items. The move, comprising 84,000 boxes and other articles, had to finish within twelve weeks.

The library demanded swift accessibility of items and conducted the operation amidst the COVID-19 pandemic for this no-fail move.

The Solution

A move of this scale and importance demanded a professionally designed plan in consultation with the library. They scheduled the move to align with the library’s archival schedule to avoid disrupting Library of Congress operations.

Additionally, the movement of delicate items requires an experienced team of security-cleared personnel, a high degree of confidence in vehicle operation, and careful packing of various shapes, sizes, and weights. They needed a unique solution for cataloging and chain of custody to ensure library personnel could access items during the operation.

Due to complexities and urgent access needs, a single point of accountability was crucial for the solution.

The move required a commitment to adhering to the ever-shifting COVID-19 health protocols and adapting as guidance changed.

The Approach

The experienced Interstate Logistics team was the logical choice for the Library of Congress’s intricate move. Not only does Interstate Logistics have almost eighty years of experience with activities across town, from coast to coast, and around the world, but their expertise in unique, irreplaceable, and complicated moves made them the ideal choice. Well known for its paramount accountability, Interstate Logistics managed and staffed the project with its own experienced Interstate Logistics personnel.

Interstate Logistics convened a team for collaborative discussions and then developed a comprehensive plan tailored to the project’s unique needs. The plan called for daily shifts managed during business hours only. They assigned twenty people to each shift, operating three trucks.

Over three months, they executed the project, moving items from a 50,000-square-foot warehouse. They carefully packaged many items due to their unique size. Cataloging documents for easy access, inventorying each skid, manifesting, and precisely relocating items preserved the library’s cataloging system at the new site.

They created a new labeling system for this project to ensure the accurate placement of all items on the shelves at the new facility. The cataloging and labeling system also ensured that materials were easily retrievable for library personnel within the required two-hour window. They prepared and submitted a detailed project plan representing the day’s moves daily to keep the library informed.

Interstate Logistics coordinated transportation with capital police and followed precise security measures for the move. They managed detailed manifests, sealed vehicles before departure, and required background checks, fingerprinting, and badging for all personnel involved.

The Outcome

They completed the project 100% on time and within budget. There was no loss as the Interstate Logistics team moved 84,000 boxes over three months. The labeling process invented for the Library of Congress move remains in use by the library to this date.

View More Articles