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.

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