Thursday, May 5, 2011

Cooking with Gas

Visible progress is being made at a rapid pace.  The installation of the new lighting, HVAC, and fire suppression system is complete and the shelving is being installed.  Renee and I will post some new pictures soon, so keep an eye out on the Photos page for some impressive updates.

In the meantime work continues to ensure all the items going into the renovated facility can be quickly accessioned using the inventory management system.  This requires every item be evaluated for a minimal level of durability (generally it has to be able to stand upright in a cardboard tray), discoverability in the library catalog, properly barcoded, and finally sorted into one of ten different size ranges.  A great crew of library staff, temporary wage workers, and volunteers continue to work at the warehouse on Linden Ave and we have recently opened up operations on the 1st floor of Alderman Library.  We need to get through several hundred thousands of items so we can use all the help we can get. 

At a town meeting of library staff a couple of weeks ago Renee, along with our colleagues Tim Morton and Ruth Dillon, updated everyone on our current status and invited each person to work with their supervisors to schedule times when they could contribute to the project.  It is really a great opportunity for this community of book lovers to touch and (very briefly) leaf through some interesting stuff.  The collections from Ivy are not rare or particularly unique.  They are valuable parts of our overall collection, they just aren't used very much.  However, some of them are beautifully illustrated (childrens books have especially caught my eye), there are languages I can't recognize at all, and there are some reminders of our past that are both glorious and terrifying. 

You may have noticed Renee added a tab to this blog for information about volunteering.  She was genius in including information for members of the community who may have an interest in donating a few hours of their time to the project.  Even without solicitation we have trained and scheduled several members of the general public to contribute.  And several staff members have told me they have a cousin, child, grandchild, friend, spouse, or neighbor asking about how they can become involved.  I admit I had not anticipated or thought to consider community volunteers as part of the project.  It was Renee who suggested we reach out to this constituency and it has already reaped some very  tangible rewards.  I think this group will grow and bring energy and enthusiasm to the project, and I am very happy to have them on-board. 

Check out the photos of the boxes in Orange.  That is our challenge.