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.

No comments: