Library renovations – tips on moving the stock
From: Guest author, Dr Jennie Bales
Moving into a new library or storing the library stock during refurbishment is a physically tiring and time consuming process. Careful planning and organisation prior to moving and storing resources can minimise the time and effort in the packing and unpacking of stock.
Packing up the library:
Prior to the event:
- Weed before the event. Do not weed while packing up.
- Critically assess the quantity of books on each shelf and the shelf breaks that delineate changing classification areas. Label these with removable labels that can be inserted into the boxes during packing. This will assist in the unpacking process. Avoid crowded shelves as these will overfill boxes or bleed into the next box to be packed which will adversely impact on the unpacking process.
- If hiring packers, try to locate packers who have experience in packing libraries and talk to them about their processes and glean their understanding of library shelving and shelf order. Seek testimonials and contact the respective libraries to verify the quality of the work.
Preparing the cartons
- Budget to buy or rent cartons that are of similar size and suitable strength. Do not use large cartons, as they are heavy to move, harder to stack in storage and increase the likelihood of backfilling from different selves. Ideally the length of a carton equals the number of books that you want on a shelf.
- Colour-code your collections to clearly differentiate each collection. E.g. Yellow = non-fiction, pink = audiovisual, blue = fiction. Number each shelf in order in the colour assigned for each collection. For example, apply yellow stickers or cards with numbers written on them, in sequence, for the entire non-fiction collection. Repeat shelf numbering for each collection in the assigned colours.
- Prior to packing, prepare box labels in the same colours and print out ready to be attached to each carton and shelf. Leave room on the label for packers to record the shelf number and the first and last call number of the contents and to sequentially number each box to reflect the sequence of shelves as items are removed.
- Assume that the side of the carton with the label attached will not be visible when cartons are stored. Take the time to apply multiple labels for each carton – top, both ends and at least one side.
- Do not fill cartons to the brim at the risk of getting items out of sequence.
- Pack stock in boxes in shelf sequence, spine up so that call numbers can be seen when boxes are opened. Pack boxes from left to right exactly as books are removed from shelves. Avoid backfilling any gaps with smaller books. This works best for larger items such as picture books, non-fiction and teacher reference.
- Placement of novels should be guided by the size and shape of the box. Two rows, one on top of each other may be the most efficient. For this method, have packers pack from the right end of the shelf backwards so that the books at the start of the shelf are in the top row of the box.
- If there is more than one packer, assign only one packer, or pair to each collection. Ensure that they work together so that boxes are numbered sequentially. Multiple packers on one collection will not be able to accurately number the boxes to reflect shelf sequence.
- Demonstrate shelf sequence to the packers. Pay particular attention to the requirement that each bay be packed in sequence rather than a row of shelving across multiple bays.
- Ensure that packers have a clear understanding of the labelling requirements. Check early in the process to ensure it is being adhered to.
- Store cartons in collection groups with labels consistently in view.
- Keep a record of the number of cartons in each collection.
Unpacking in the new library.
- Do not attempt to weed while unpacking resources.
- Use the carton tally for each collection as a guide to ensure that there is sufficient shelving in each section of the refurbished library.
- Replicate the labelling colour scheme with temporary labels in the refurbished library. Place temporary colour indicators and numbers on the shelves so that cartons are positioned in the correct area and close to the appropriate shelves prior to unpacking.
- Before unpacking any boxes, use the numbering system to ensure that all boxes are present and in close proximity to their new location.
- Ensure that those unpacking the cartons transfer items from the cartons in correct sequence.
- Check the status of the unpacking early in the process, and continue to do so frequently. Errors need to be identified early to avoid rehandling items to reposition them.
- If library staff will not be present during the unpacking prepare a detailed diagram of new library showing the layout of all shelves. Colour code the shelving diagrams to reflect the colour coding used in the old library. Label each bay in each collection so that sequence is clearly demonstrated. For example, Yellow A, B, C … to label the first three bays in the non-fiction section. Then number each bay with the series of box numbers to go into it. For example, the Yellow A bay has four shelves so boxes 1-4 would be unpacked on those four shelves.
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