Sorry, but I have lots of deadlines this week and next, so this book review is all I've got time to do.
REVIEW: LIBRARY RELOCATIONS & COLLECTION SHIFTS
Dennis C. Tucker. Information Today, 1999. ISBN 1-57387-069-2 $35.00. (May be ordered direct from http://www.infotoday.com/catalog/books.htm)
Having helped move our library collection and equipment from an old building without elevators to a brand new building double its size and fully accessible, I can assure you that before you make a major move yourself, you will want to read this book, as practical a step-by-step guide to the decisions you have to make, the available alternatives, and their advantages and drawbacks.
Tucker says the first and most important part of the process is choosing a move director who will be responsible for assigning responsibilities and meeting schedules. He's right -- having a woman with uncommon organizational and analytical skills in charge of ours made all the difference between a smooth transition and chaos. Just as important, though, is a move committee to provide suggestions and enlist necessary support from all library staff and the community the library serves.
Tucker suggests preliminary steps like weeding the collection -- why go to the trouble of moving something that nobody has used in the last 25 years or is likely to use in the next 25? -- and measuring the linear feet occupied by the existing collection and calculating the distribution of expansion space. (We knew exactly which shelf every single book was to end up on before we ever made our move.) He suggests several techniques for making those measurements.
He discusses factors that affect the decision about when to make the move: weather, availability of workers, and the plans and schedules others may have for use of the building you're vacating. (We had faculty crawling around with tape measures, each one with grand dreams about how they'd use our space.)
Then there's the question of how the move is going to be made: by professional movers (preferably experienced library movers), hand to hand through a human chain, or by mass checkout from the old building and return to the new building. If you have no elevator, what techniques are available for moving the books down? After discussing the advantages and drawbacks of all of these techniques, he goes on to the methods of physically handling the books -- do you box them? Stack them? Move them in book trucks or troughs? And incidentally, are you insured for any injuries that occur in the process? And if you're moving on a vile weather day, how are you going to protect the books and equipment?
There's a lot more here, from communicating with and organizing library staff, deciding whether and how to maintain service while the move is going on, and doing a complete shelf-reading once the books are in their new home. You get the picture: this man is THOROUGH. He raises questions and proposes alternative solutions that will not have occurred to you.
Having your entire move committee read it won't guarantee a smooth move, but it will guarantee that you won't be blindsided by unanticipated problems.
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A question for you: I'm pitching to publishers an anthology of some of my more interesting and/or provocative pieces, from ExLibris, My Word's Worth, Observing Us, and various magazines, on libraries, librarianship, the internet, and information. I want to know if there's a market for it. If any of you would be interested in buying such a book I would really appreciate knowing that so I could present the information to a publisher.
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We teachers and librarians need to forget the novelty of our computers. After all, they'll be as ordinary to our children as the new cars and electricity were in our lives. We need to find ways to walk around our two-dimensional screens -- ways to take our children back to Prospero's rich three-dimensional island of the mind.
We'll never survive a revolution by pretending it doesn't exist. And we ignore the ongoing revolution at great peril. The only people who can ever preserve those values of the old regime that need preserving are the ones who live at the center of the revolution.
So: Be at the center of the storm. Know what the computers can do and what can be done with them. Then ask yourself what human qualities you want to preserve into the 21st century and what human qualities you are ready to let go of -- for we will have to relinquish some of the old virtues.
We are being changed by the machine. And we are being changed radically. But let us not be changed absolutely,. Let us help one another to draw just a few crucial lines in the sand.
John Lienhard. "Children, Literacy and the Computer." A presentation to the ALA, June 30, 1997. http://www.uh.edu/engines/alatalk.htm
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You are welcome to copy and distribute or e-mail any of my own articles for noncommercial purposes (but not those by my guest writers) as long as you retain this copyright statement:
Ex Libris: an E-Zine for Librarians and Other Information Junkies.
Copyright, Marylaine Block, 2000.
Publishers may license the content for a reasonable fee.