Preservation Storage Facility

The Preservation Storage Facility opened in 2022. Its construction allowed us to:

  • increase our storage capacity
  • provide the conditions needed for long-term preservation
  • keep Canada's documentary heritage secure

The building’s primary function is to provide efficient storage for archival records. It also has specialized work and consultation rooms.

The simple design maximizes usable space and allows for an automated storage and retrieval system (ASRS). The building is energy efficient and sustainable. At the time of its construction, it was:

  • the largest automated archival centre in the world
  • the first net zero carbon archival centre in the Americas
  • the first federal facility built by Library and Archives Canada to meet the requirements of Canada's Greening Government Strategy standards

This building reinforces Library and Archives Canada’s (LAC) reputation as a leader in the global documentary heritage community.

Roy Grogan Photography
Library and Archives Canada Preservation Storage Facility at 635 du Carrefour Blvd., Gatineau, Quebec.

The vaults

Six large vaults, totaling more than 21,000 cubic metres, store paper, microfilm and motion picture film.

The vault structure is made of concrete, a material that produces little dust and minimizes noise and vibration.

Automated building systems maintain precise levels of:

  • light
  • temperature
  • humidity
  • airborne particles

The building uses state-of-the-art fire prevention and suppression systems.

There are two distinct environmental conditions in the building. Vaults 1 to 5 containing paper are kept at 10°C and 40% relative humidity.

Vault 6 containing paper documents, microfilm and motion picture film is kept at 6°C and 30% relative humidity.

The layout of the vaults within the Preservation Storage Facility.

The automated system

Each vault has an automated storage and retrieval system. This system uses a lift and a crane controlled by our staff for the removal and return of documents to the vaults. The system operates in the dark and limits the opening of the vaults, which saves energy and maintains optimal preservation conditions.

Moving the collection

The transfer of documents and archives to the Storage Preservation Facility has begun. Learn about the enormous task of moving more than 590,000 containers into their new vaults.

The automated storage and retrieval system moving a shelving unit within a vault.