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Severn Library

Severn Library

Severn Library is UMD Libraries’ high-density shelving facility. Located just ten minutes away from campus, it houses unique, semi-rare, and important research collections.

5245 Greenbelt Road, College Park, MD 20740
301-405-9062 |

Users can’t visit Severn Library in person, but this video offers a peek inside!

Severn Library is a closed-stacks facility; it is not accessible to UMD users or the general public. Materials must be requested in advance.

UMD Users

  • Request circulating items and microform housed in the Severn Library through the catalog and select your preferred pickup location. (Note: microform must be used onsite at McKeldin Library.)  Learn more
  • Request chapters or articles be delivered electronically via Interlibrary Loan. Learn more.
  • Request special collections and archival materials for use in the Maryland Room at Hornbake Library. Learn more.


  • Please use the Severn Library Request Form to request items (up to 10 per person). Once delivered, these items may be used onsite at McKeldin Library.   
  • Our collections are also available to request via interlibrary loan (ILL). We don’t lend to individuals, but your library can request items from us on your behalf. Learn more.
  • Request special collections and archival materials for use in the Maryland Room at Hornbake Library. Learn more.

Turnaround time

  • Circulating items are usually delivered to McKeldin Library in 1-2 business days 
  • Articles/chapters are usually delivered electronically in 1-2 business days.
  • Materials from Special Collections and the Archives will be delivered in 4 business days.  

You will be notified via email when your item arrives at its pickup location or is available for download.

Facts about Severn:

  • Severn Library is located inside a former Washington Post printing facility. The building was purchased by UMD to accommodate the space and storage needs of several university units, including the University Libraries, which occupy about 21,000 square feet (6.5%). 
  • When full, Severn library will house approximately 1.25 million volumes and 40,000 archival boxes. It provides essential space for the University Libraries, which cannot currently accommodate all library materials and provide programming and study space.
  • Collections are shelved in 30-foot-tall, high-density shelving. Materials are shelved by size and type rather than call-number classification, and staff retrieve materials using an elevated work platform (“order picker”).
  • The environment is kept between 50-55°F and 30-35% relative humidity in order to best preserve the collections housed there. 

Severn's Advantages:

  • Materials are easy to find. Similar facilities around the country have proved the effectiveness of a sophisticated tracking system and inventory control. It is less likely that materials in high density storage will be misplaced, lost, or stolen, and thus more likely that the book you need will be on the shelf. 
  • Materials are better preserved. With more stable environmental conditions, the materials do not suffer from harmful effects of heat, humidity, and light exposure. State-of-the-art fire suppression systems minimize risk of fire damage. Because materials at Severn Library are only handled when a user requests them, they also experience less wear and tear, thereby contributing to a longer life.

Anna Nabity, Collection Maintenance & Retrieval Coordinator

Arthur Natishan, Severn Operations Supervisor

Jerome Weiland, Collection Maintenance & Retrieval Specialist

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