Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Full Speed Ahead

We know we’ve been quiet here the past few weeks; this is because we have been hard at work.  We have been dead set and determined that we would re-open on November 1st and have no further delay.  I must admit there were a couple of weeks when I wasn’t sure we could humanly make that happen.  But…

We put out a call for help, and help arrived!  The Library Board and Staff cannot thank our volunteers enough!  We are back on schedule.  We would not have been able to open on time without this help!

In these past couple of weeks, over 900 boxes were delivered from the warehouse where they were stored.  The moving company did place most of them on the shelves… at times in the right order.  Staff and volunteers have been (and are continuing) “reading” the shelves.  That is going book by book to place them in the right locations.  We have also needed to unpack the additional 400 or so boxes of books that were at the Mini B. and in local storage at Horace Porter School.  All of these volumes needed to be interfiled.

Because of changes in the floor plan, our original ideas about what collection would go where, shifted.  Of course, as often is the case with plans made on the fly – some of these changes were great, some, not so much.  We have needed to rearrange, ‘shifting’ collections, and altering what would go where and how, so that it was functional for use and fit.  We needed to pare down some materials, and realized we needed to reserve space for future plans, that were already set in motion.  All of this is in progress as I write.

Last but not least, we continue to receive new furnishing, such as chairs, computer tables, etc.  We have all come to dread the phrase, ‘some assembly required’.   Ratchets, screwdrivers and rubber mallets have been are new companions.

In the midst of this, we have FINALLY gotten our phone system working and our computers working.  The computers were easier than the phones.  For anyone who has set up computer systems, this will speak volumes.

We are almost close enough for count down and we all look forward to seeing our patrons again and returning to normal.


Friday, September 23, 2016

Gridlock Dissipated

The past couple of weeks have seen delays on all fronts.  We apologize that our phones went out on Sept 12.  As I write this on Sept 23, they are still not back.  Library staff has been using their personal cell phones to try to keep in touch.  Every other day, I have spoken with 4 to 5 people at the telephone company who promised that tomorrow was “The Day.”  This week, we contacted a different provider.  We are now waiting for the “release of the numbers” so a new provider can activate service.  We are told this must legally happen within a week.  So next week, our phone service should be restored.

Despite our lack of phone services, we have heard from many regarding the highly contentious library layouts.  Many are understandably confused.  SBL is one of 176  association libraries in Connecticut.  This means we are an independent 501(3)c non-profit organization governed by the Library Board.  We are tenants in the town’s building.  Like all landlords, the town is responsible for the structure, HVAC, building maintenance and the outside of the building.  The Library is responsible for the furniture and services that take place inside the building.  We strive to make this partnership work for everyone.

The furnishing / layout have gone through many reiterations:

A.  The Library pre-renovation.

B.  Original layout submitted to the State Library Construction grant.

C.  Revised layout submitted to the State Construction Grant in the Spring, when the shelving vendor reported the original layout would not fit the physical space.  Some shelving was lost, shelf sizes were varied and alignment was not possible.  The other alternative was to have less shelving than the pre-renovation layout (A.), which the Library felt was a problem.

D. First plan proposed by Selectmen on September 6 after seeing installed empty shelving.  This plan would have required a substantial elimination of materials, and as such a proposal that the Library could not accept.

E.  Revised Library layout approved unanimously by the Library Board September 12, in consideration of the Selectman and Library’s shared concerns.

F.  Second proposed plan given to the Library from the town.

G.  Current Library Board approved plan.

We have always known that calculating exact space is impossible, and that we will need adjustment.  So this current plan (G) is not fixed in stone, but we are hopefully close!

As you read this, the 300 or so boxes, including materials from the Mini B and the materials that have been stored at Horace Porter School for the past two years, are tucked into corners at the Library.  The storage company has begun to unpack the approximately 900 boxes that have been at their warehouse.