Archive for March, 2010

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No keys left behind

March 26, 2010

Cleaning out the library over the past two weeks has been exhausting on many levels.  By Wednesday, I was so tired I could barely lift a garbage bag into the dumpster anymore.  So I had the bright idea that I’d just drag that bag across East Milwaukee on its way from my car to the dumpster.   Obviously my brain was about as operational as my muscles.  You have probably already guessed what happened.  Yep.  This is where the rubber (well okay, plastic) hit the road and caused a wee little hole to become wide and gaping, letting loose a string of trash across the street.   And the cars didn’t appear to mind driving over it as I stood there trying to decide how I was going to collect it all as it was being carried on toward Main Street.  And what timing on this unfortunate event as I was five minutes late for a meeting by then.  Even in nearly catatonic state, I know enough to call for help when it’s the best course of action.  I quickly enlisted the assistance of some of the faithful library cleaning crew and they managed to clean up the street while I heaved the bag into the dumpster once and for all.

And darn if that wasn’t all I threw in the dumpster.  Unbeknownst to me, I’d also tossed in my key ring.  The keys to my house, my car, the old library, the new library…my access to the world as I know it, just pitched right in.

I didn’t realize it until about two hours later when I was set to leave the library following the construction committee meeting.  I couldn’t locate my keys anywhere.   Because the library was virtually empty by then, it wasn’t like they could have been hiding in a mug next to the microwave.  Two trips around both floors of the library and I started to panic because my keys were nowhere to be found.

“Okay, just retrace your steps,” I called forth the words of wisdom I’d heard more than once before.  I finally spotted them peeking out from underneath the exploded garbage bag near the bottom of the dumpster.  I am happy to report that Kevin Becker from Yerges Van Liners, Inc. is a talented dumpster diver.  And he is so darn good-natured to boot.  He never said, “That’s not in my job description.” (I’m quite sure dumpster diving is not in a professional mover’s job description.)  He just smiled and scored my keys in record time.

So now you know.  The old library is so empty you could even find misplaced keys in a jiffy.  That is, if you’d actually left them in the building.

The temporary library opens on Monday, March 29th at 9 a.m. at the corner of Janesville and Rockwell Avenues.   We’ve been closed for two weeks and working very hard to make our new home ready.  Come and see!  I should have a much better grip on my keys by then.

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Three days down…more to go

March 17, 2010

We have finished the third day of moving our library.    This is very hard work.    It’s physically and mentally exhausting.    Today I was cleaning cupboards going through historical files and boxes.  I discovered a treasure trove of documents in a metal lock box (unlocked, thank heavens) that I never knew was there.  In all these years, I’d never reached to the back of that high shelf.  I just knew there were items stored in that location that the previous director had felt important enough to save and I’d never sorted through it all.   I don’t know about you, but in my world something always takes priority over cleaning closets.  Today I sorted through everything.

Inside the lock box I found the paperwork from the house that was purchased in 1914 to make way for the library that was built in 1916.  (The house was eventually moved to Bluff Street and still exists today.)  It is hand signed by the homeowners.  I also found a bank book from that time and numerous documents related to the 1916 library.  I got goosebumps as I examined the historical documents marking the very beginning of our library at 102 E. Milwaukee Avenue.

Most of my discoveries are not that much fun.  Mostly I discover stuff that either has to be moved or thrown.   I never realized how much stuff we had.   Every time I look around there’s another cupboard to empty.

Each box that’s packed is then loaded onto a cart.  Every single book shelf has to be loaded to a cart so the bookshelf can be taken apart (if possible) and moved.  Kevin Becker of Yerges Van Liners told us that a fully loaded book cart weighs about 600 pounds.  (We were discussing our elevator’s weight capacity.)  A fully loaded book cart with non-fiction from the youth department feels even heavier than that.  Many of these carts are now lined up waiting for our elevator.  I used to think our elevator was pretty fast.  This week it’s seemed as if I could go take a nap while I’m waiting for the elevator to get back upstairs.  (Maybe I should.  I’m pretty tired after three days of this.)

But, oh my, do you think we could we have any better weather than this for mid-March?  And could we have a more helpful moving company or more dedicated staff and volunteer crew?  Or better treats from our Friends of the Library bakers?  I think not.

It’s too soon to know an official reopening date.  We have made enormous progress.  The fiction room is cleared out and all set up at the temporary library.  The children’s department is mostly empty too but only partially moved and set up.  The Internet came up at the other site without a hitch.  However, we have almost no computers or desks moved yet.  And still no working phone system.

Everybody is working hard.  It does take time; it’s an enormous undertaking. 

Onward to day four!

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Home sweet temporary home

March 15, 2010

Temporary library at the corner of Janesville and Rockwell Avenues

We are now officially closed while we move our library from 102 East Milwaukee Avenue to our temporary library site at the corner of Janesville and Rockwell Avenues in Fort Atkinson.  This will allow our renovation and expansion project to be on a more efficient schedule, saving many dollars in construction as well as providing for far less disruption to library users.  You can read more about it in the Daily Jefferson County Union.  Regional Editor Ryan Whisner wrote a detailed and informative story.   

We appreciate your patience while we do the work to move about 90,000 items, our furniture, equipment, computer network, telephone system, IT infrastructure and every piece of shelving we own.  Our shelving has to be emptied, broken down, moved, reinstalled, and then reloaded with books, magazines, DVDs, and audiobooks.  Moving an entire library is no small task.  The library staff has worked diligently to prepare for our move and will continue to work hard during the transition.   Staffers have donated many hours of volunteer time and worked side-by-side with the best crew of volunteers you can imagine.   Thank you seems inadequate but I’ll say it anyway.   Thank you each and every one of you! 

Several companies deserve special recognition for their generous in-kind donations at the temporary location. 

Mark Haubenschild, of Spacesaver Corporation, arranged for our mobile storage system to be broken down at the library and reinstalled at our temporary site.  We would not be able to fit our collections in our temporary site if it weren’t for our Spacesaver shelving.  (It absolutely works as advertised.  It allows you to maximize your storage capacity.  With such a finite footprint, every foot is critical.)    We are indebted to Mark and Ron Jordan for arranging for John Cuder to do our Spacesaver installation.  John is an expert and very good-natured to boot.  I know about the good-natured part because…well…let’s just say I tested it while deciding on exact location of the rails.  Local merchants Goyer Ace Hardware, Sherwin Williams, and JM Carpets donated paint and carpeting that helped transform the facility.  We’re very grateful for their support of our community’s library! 

While our library is closed, you may return your materials in our new bookdrop at the temporary library site.  The book drop is located in the parking lot behind the building.  You must enter the parking lot on Janesville Avenue.  You may exit at either Janesville Avenue or behind the building at Rockwell Avenue.  We’re converting the back driveway to an “exit only” to accommodate the traffic flow for the bookdrop.  Making the traffic one way behind the building allows for drive-up access to the bookdrop from a vehicle’s driver’s side.  

The front door to the library is under the blue awning.  It’s not quite the same as entering between our library pillars but it is a very identifiable entryway!  The handicapped accessible entry is located at the back of the building.  

I will report on the move during the week.  Check back for more information.

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