Friday, February 26, 2016

How to move a library: Microforms

Now that it's 2016, our move is just around the corner. The Alaska State Library's Information Services section will be the last of our Division to move into the Father Andrew P. Kashevaroff State Library, Archives, and Museum. The latest word is that we will start moving in mid-April, and the facility should be ready to open by mid-May.
The APK building looking great on February 24, 2016. The only things missing from the front of the building are the doors, which are plywood.

Right now, we're preparing all of our microfilm and microfiche cabinets for refurbishing. We'll use them in the new building, but they need to be emptied so they can get cleaned, touched up, and painted. We will pack all the film and fiche in boxes and store them on pallets until moving time, so some of our microforms will be inaccessible for a few months. The Alaska newspaper microfilm, our most-used microform collection, will be the last packed and the first unpacked.
Library assistant Ginny Jacobs transfers a row of microfiche from drawer to box.

If the microfiche got out of order, it would be a major headache. To minimize the risk of a fiche-catastrophe, we ordered specially-sized boxes that fit one row of fiche. An additional benefit to this method is that one of these boxes is about as heavy as our staff would want to heft around. Each box is 6 inches tall and 6 inches wide, in three different lengths (16, 22, and 28 inches) to accommodate our varying cabinet sizes. Since fiche is about 5x6 inches, there's an inch of space at the top. That inch of air causes some concern that the boxes might crush during transport. We've arranged them like Lincoln Logs on the pallet for maximum stability, and will report back when we find out how it goes.
This pallet of microfiche is stacked, wrapped, labeled, and ready for moving. Although it looks like a small pallet-load, it is surprisingly heavy!

For microfilm, we are less concerned with interfiling, since the reels are in boxes. All of our cabinets are approximately the same length, so we ordered 28x12x6 inch boxes to accommodate three rows of microfilm. Although the drawers are five rows across, boxes for five rows would have been unwieldy and expensive. We've packed all of our federal and national newspaper microfilm, and it worked like a dream.

We purchased these boxes from ULINE, which has an impressive selection of sizes and shapes. All of the boxes we picked are top-loading, to make packing and unpacking easy. We considered modifying regular file boxes, like the AAA ones frequently used for moving offices, but found that it wouldn't save us money and would greatly slow down the packing process.

In other move news, we've selected locations for some of the notable features from our State Office Building location. The large relief map of Alaska that is hanging behind the Library's reference desk will be relocated to the OWL room in the new facility. The Rie Muñoz mural above the microfilm readers will move to the second floor atrium, near the Division's administration offices. Visitors will still be able to enjoy these favorites in their new home.
This relief map has been popular with Library visitors for years. It will be on view in the new Library and will make a great backdrop for OWL videoconferences.

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