Saturday, September 17, 2016

First Folio at the APK

We were so honored to be Alaska's host site for the national traveling exhibition First Folio! The Book that Gave Us Shakespeare, on tour from the Folger Shakespeare Library. The exhibit opened on July 26 and closed on August 24.
The exhibition featured an original First Folio, the first edition of Shakespeare's collected works, printed in 1623. Photo by MaryLou Gerbi.

The First Folio exhibit was different from our usual fare of Alaska history, and some visitors were surprised to find the nearly 400-year old treasure here in Juneau. One visitor remarked, "Last summer we were in London and didn't see a First Folio. This year we're in Alaska and we find one here!" It's been fun to hear about peoples' encounters with Shakespeare, from those who remember memorizing the To Be Or Not To Be speech in high school to people who have acted in Shakespeare's plays. One fifth-grade Shakespeare fan showed up wearing The Tragedie of Hamlet printed on her pants!
Enrique Bravo performs the To Be Or Not To Be speech from Hamlet with Theatre in the Rough on August 12, 2016.

The First Folio exhibit has been a wonderful way for us to connect with our community in our new facility. We had four weeks of diverse programming, including art and theater workshops for kids, performances in our beautiful atrium, and school visits by several brave teachers, who brought their classes during the first week of school! We shared lectures via the Online With Libraries videoconferencing system, thanks to a little bit of ingenuity from our IT wizard and the OWL support team at UAF.
Participants in Shakespeare's costumes & crafts youth activity, led by guest artist Valerie Snyder of BrownBoots Costume Co., show off their creations.

If you read a part in the Theatre in the Rough dramatic readings, led a workshop or gave a lecture, or came by to enjoy the exhibit, thank you for making this incredible opportunity so fantastic. And thank you to the generosity of the project sponsors and the fearlessness of the Folger Shakespeare Library in sending their intrepid First Folios out into the world.  

First Folio! The Book that Gave Us Shakespeare, on tour from the Folger Shakespeare Library, is made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and by the support of Google.org, Vinton and Sigrid Cerf, the British Council, Stuart and Mimi Rose, and other generous donors. It is produced in association with the American Library Association and the Cincinnati Museum Center.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Book Cart Repairs (Or, The Aftermath of a Library Move)

During our move, we damaged several of our brand new book carts. We purchased a style that our cataloger specially requested for use after the move, so we were disappointed that the carts had held up so poorly to the wear of moving.
Bent casters on the carts made them unstable and unsafe for use.

Fortunately, since they were new, the vendor was very helpful in providing us with the tools to repair them. They sent us new casters and new caster sleeves (the plastic inserts that go into the legs of the carts), and a caster sleeve removal tool.
The handle on the caster sleeve removal tool slides up and down, giving you some leverage for extracting broken caster sleeves.

When I removed the casters using a pry bar, I discovered that the stems were severely bent and needed to be replaced. On the most damaged casters, the plastic sleeves were also cracked, so I removed them using the caster sleeve removal tool. It wasn't clear to me exactly how to use it, but our Deputy Director came by and gave a demonstration. I wish I'd been quick enough to record a video of it. You screw it into the sleeve just like a corkscrew and then the handle slides up and down, allowing you to work out the broken sleeve. It made an enormous racket in our work room, so I recommend it for working out some aggression.
One of the bent caster stems.

We had one older cart with square legs that needed some re-shaping. It had been overloaded previously and collapsed, causing the metal to stretch. My colleague used the side of the pry bar and a mallet to coax it back into shape. Then I hammered in the new caster sleeves with a rubber mallet, and pounded in the new casters using the mallet and a screwdriver to get the right angle without hammering on the wheel. The manufacturer said that it's important to make sure that the casters are fully seated in the legs before using the cart.
The new caster sleeve wouldn't fit into this socket, so it needed to be hammered back into a square shape.

Although they're not as good as new, all the carts that were damaged during the move are back in service in the new Library. The manufacturer noted that fully loaded carts should be moved with care over door thresholds and uneven ground to prevent this kind of damage. If your library is planning a move, care for your book carts by making the terrain they need to travel as smooth as possible.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Public Art in the Andrew P. Kashevaroff State Library, Archives, and Museum

There's a lot to see at the Andrew P. Kashevaroff State Library, Archives, and Museum, including both familiar and brand new public art. Nimbus, newly repainted and brilliant green against the dark purple of the building, is glorious and unapologetic in the courtyard. Just inside the doors, the giant map of Alaska, Canada, and Russia inlaid into the terrazzo floor immediately grabs your attention, as does the towering eagle tree exhibit.
Nimbus, the sculpture people love to hate, returns to its place of honor in front of the building.

Walter Gordinier's cast glass pieces are interspersed throughout the interior of the building and outside on the grounds, which is just the way Gordinier likes it. "The art needs to move in concert with the structure, from out to in, from floor to wall, from seating to glass and back again," he writes in his artist statement. He created three interior pieces, Trilogy, the large glass columns in the front of the Library's Reading Room, Glacial Pond in the atrium, and Story Bars, which adorn the glass banisters along the second floor and the mezzanine. Outside, Gordinier's work is visible in Pivot Plaza and near the walkways. They accent the plaza and provide a backdrop for the outdoor venue, which will kick things off with dance parties every Friday this summer.
The center pillar of Trilogy, back lit by the sun coming in the windows.
Glacial Pond floats between the first and second floors.
A close-up of Glacial Pond shows the different colors, textures, and layers.
Each of the Story Bars is unique. Some let in lots of light and others are nearly opaque.
A section of Pivot Plaza including Scrims, Passages, and one of the Axis Discs.

Many visitors have already enjoyed woodworker and former Juneauite Martin Shelton's contribution to the building, possibly without even realizing it. His Inside Passage benches are all different, just like the trees out of which they are made. "One of the things I strive for as an artist is to make my furniture both approachable and functional, this includes making it inviting both to the eye and the body," Shelton stated.
Shelton's benches line the atrium, providing visitors with a place to enjoy the view and rest their legs.
The benches incorporate the natural features of the wood, like this split that goes straight through the bench.

In the library area on the second floor, Ketchikan artist Evon Zerbetz's massive glass mural, We Are Written in the Layers of the Earth, provides a stunning dividing wall between the Richard Foster Reading Room and the Research Center. The mural features three human "mark makers" along with numerous Alaskan plants and animals. Zerbetz created the design using one-fifth sized linocuts, then worked with German company Derix Glasstudio to fabricate the piece and add the colors and textures.
From the Research Center, daylight from the windows along the front of the building makes the mural glow.
On the Reading Room side, the images continue down onto the wood panels below.
All of the public art in the APK State Library, Archives, and Museum is meant to make our new space welcoming, comfortable, and enjoyable for our visitors. We are constantly finding new things to love about our building and we hope you will too.

The three installations featured in this post were selected by the the SLAM project Percent for Art advisory committee. Since the Percent for Art law was passed in 1975, Alaska has employed artists and benefited from the cultural, social, and economic value of public art. The program is overseen by the Alaska State Council on the Arts.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Make summer plans with SLAM

Summer is just around the corner and that means fishing, camping, hiking, and traveling, but we've also got 10 ideas for great things to do with SLAM this summer.

10. Join us for the Grand Opening of the Father Andrew P. Kashevaroff State Library, Archives, and Museum on June 6, 2016. This community celebration is an opportunity for us to welcome Juneauites and visitors to the new facility, and we can't wait to share it with you.

9. If you just can't wait for June 6 or are looking for some VIP treatment, then get your tickets for the Friends of the State Library, Archives, and Museum special preview on Saturday, June 4, 5:30-8:30. There will be live music, delicious hors d'ouevres, and a no host bar, and a rare opportunity to go behind the scenes. Tickets are $75 for Friends members and $100 for non-members. For more information, visit http://foslam.org/events. Tickets are on sale now from JAHC and both locations of Hearthside Books.
The construction fence came down this week, so people can enjoy walking through the grounds. The Friends special preview will be the first chance to get inside.

8. Participate in summer reading at your local library. If you have young children, help prevent summer slide by reading, learning, and creating with free activities at the library. If you're child-free, many public libraries are now offering adult summer reading programs, where you can win great prizes, join book groups, and expand your reading interests.

7. Take a tour of the new permanent exhibits in the Alaska State Museum, on your own or guided by one of the Museum's volunteer docents. All the exhibits have been completely re-imagined, updated, and expanded with the help of community curators from around the state. You'll find artifacts that you've never seen before, as well as familiar favorites, and make new connections across cultures.

6. Come dance your heart out at a Rock Around the Block Party! Every Friday from June 10 through August 26, there will be live music and dancing on our Pivot Plaza next to Nimbus, and delicious eats at the food trucks on the JACC lawn from 5:00 to 7:30 pm.
Image courtesy of the Juneau Arts and Humanities Council

5. Enjoy the summer's temporary show, "Living Alaska," a 10-year retrospective of contemporary artwork by Alaskan artists purchased by museums with funds from Rasmuson Foundation, on tour from the Anchorage Museum. Read the rave review in Alaska Dispatch News.

4. Research Alaskan history in the new, combined Historical Collections and Archives Research Center. For the first time, researchers can visit one location to delve into territorial records, historical photos, maps, and manuscripts.
Looking for information about the Iditarod? You can read telegrams from the Archives, look at photos from the Historical Collections, or browse a 1925 newspaper on microfilm.

3. Relax in the new Richard Foster Reading Room, where you can enjoy an unbeatable view, read an Alaskan newspaper or magazine, or study on your own. We'll have wi-fi, public computers, and plenty of outlets, where you can plug in, recharge, and relax.
One of the views from the Reading Room looks back on our old home in the State Office Building, but others look down the Channel, toward Mount Juneau, or over the Willoughby district.

2. Eat lunch in our atrium while observing the eagles in the new Eagle Tree exhibit, getting lost in Walter Gordinier's Glacial Ponding glasswork, or sitting on Martin Shelton's exquisite wood benches.

1. Brush up your Shakespeare during First Folio! The Book that Gave Us Shakespeare, on tour from the Folger Shakespeare Library. We are Alaska's host site for this national traveling exhibit, which will be on display from July 26 through August 24, and we'll have tons of great lectures, activities, and events for Shakespeare fans of all ages.
An original First Folio of Shakespeare's works, printed in 1623, will be on display for four weeks in our new building.

It's going to be a great summer! Hope to see you at SLAM.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

How to move a library: Books

The Alaska State Library is one of many Alaskan libraries that have moved to new digs in the past few years. To name a few, Sitka Public Library (formerly Kettleson), Cordova Library, Seward Community Library & Museum, Nome's Kegoayah Kozga Library, Talkeetna Library, and Juneau Public Library's Valley location all have new buildings.

We're fortunate that we're not moving very far. Our old and new locations are only a few blocks apart, but it's still too far to hand carry all the books or even for a book brigade, like this one used in Cordova. Video posted by Cordova Telephone Cooperative.


Every library move has different requirements and should use a moving method best suited to the collections, staff, and equipment of that library. Our collections move team, led by Public Services Librarian Katie Fearer, decided to move our book, periodical, and media collections on book carts. We already had more than 30 carts and were able to borrow six more from Juneau Public Libraries. The cart system allowed us to keep our materials on the shelves until the move actually started, which was important since we closed our doors on Friday, April 15, and started moving Monday, April 18.
Full, wrapped carts waiting to be loaded onto the truck for transport to the new building. Photo by Ginny Jacobs.

Our staff and volunteers were split into three teams, one unshelving in the old building, one shelving in the new building, and one managing the traffic flow, which meant directing movers, operating the freight elevators, and communicating between the teams. This arrangement allowed staff to do all of the handling of books and other collections. Two movers wrapped the carts with pallet wrap, pushed the full carts from the old library into the truck and from the truck to the new Reading Room.
State Librarian Linda Thibodeau and Library Assistant Ginny Jacobs unshelve books in the old building. Photo by Amy Carney.

We did have a few mishaps, which informed us how to fine-tune our systems. A couple of times the books fell off a cart in transit, which meant that they had to be carefully reordered before going on the shelf. One small cart had a catastrophic caster failure where the wheel cracked in half. Two brand new carts ended up with bent casters, which will need to be replaced before they can be safely used again. But overall, we were thrilled with how well the process worked and were able to move our collections in half the time we originally scheduled.
According to the manufacturer, casters may be damaged, like this one, when moved over door thresholds with under heavy loads. These casters will be replaced before being used in the Library.

We can't wait to show off our beautiful new Reading Room after the Father Andrew P. Kashevaroff State Library, Archives, and Museum opens on June 6. We hope to see you there, browsing an Alaskan newspaper, doing research from our microfilm, or just enjoying the view.
The view from our new home to our old one through one of many large windows in the Richard Foster Reading Room.

Finally, a huge thanks to Juneau Public Libraries for sharing their expertise, staff, and book carts with us! We're so lucky to have such a fantastic library community here in Juneau.