Monday, March 29, 2010

Opening Day at the Library

As promised, your Library is finally open again - after two hellacious weeks. Unfortunately, not all the sections are ready to be used.

Upstairs, the Meeting Room, hallway, and foyer are ready, so AARP can do taxes here this week. The US Census Bureau is also using the room to give tests to potential employees. The Children's Section is also ready for the little ones, and we'll have our regular storytimes this week. However, our very popular Genealogy Section is not ready yet and neither is the microfilm.

Downstairs, the Check In/Out  and Information desk are set up. Most of the books in Fiction and Large Print are reshelved and ready for you to browse. Audios and Videos are also ready. The New Books are reshelved. And most importantly, all our downstairs Computers are set up and ready for patrons. The Dr T Memorial Reading Room is usable but the renovations are not complete. Reference and Biographies have not been reshelved, and the Teens Room is still full of books and unavailable.

It may seem like a lot is not ready yet, but we worked seven days a week for the two weeks we were closed and did the best we could. We will try to make the other sections available as soon as possible, but remember that we are working on it while we're open, so it may take a while. Please be patient - we want our Library back to normal as much as you do.

Everybody who has come in today says the Library looks beautiful - and we agree.

Here are the most recent pictures. Click on the arrow to replay the slide show, or click on any picture to go to the online album with captions. (If you're reading this on Facebook, you'll have to go to the original blog to see the pictures.)

Friday, March 26, 2010

We WILL Reopen on Monday

We will reopen on Monday, March 29. However, not all the sections of the Library will be ready. We will be working over the weekend and will try to get as much done as possible. Look at the pictures at the end of this post. They were taken at 3:30 pm Friday. When you come in Monday, you can see how far we've come.

We're going to have new signage all over the Library. You can see some examples in the pictures. We ordered the frames, and I am making the inserts. Unfortunately, not all the frames have arrived yet, but we did put up the ones we had. That was my job today - sure beats reshelving books! The design comes from the catalog where we ordered the frames. The pictures are mostly of Library Staff. I had a really good time chasing down reluctant Staff and taking their pictures. They all felt they looked sweaty and grubby. However, I thought I made them all look pretty good. You can check them out yourself and see what you think.

This is the last post on Renovations before reopening, but I will be updating you on how the unfinished sections look as they are completed.

Here are the most recent pictures. Click on the arrow to replay the slide show, or click on any picture to go to the online album with captions. (If you're reading this on Facebook, you'll have to go to the original blog to see the pictures.)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Making Progress

We are happy to announce that the workers are finished and gone! The only people here now are Library Staff and a few volunteers. We are busy cleaning, reshelving, putting bookcases together, and rearranging furniture, equipment, and collections.

We're feeling more confident that we'll really open on Monday, March 29 at 9 am. We really appreciate the patience of our patrons and apologize for the convenience. We're also grateful for the support of the Natchez Democrat for helping us to get the news out. If you missed them, here are the articles: March 5, March 16, March 21March 22, and March 24. We also appreciate the help of the City Department of Public Works, which provided us with a trailor for storage and sent over every day a member of their staff accompanied by trustees to help us with the heavy lifting.

Here are the most recent pictures. Click on the arrow to replay the slide show, or click on any picture to go to the online album with captions. (If you're reading this on Facebook, you'll have to go to the original blog to see the pictures.)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Oh No! We Won't Be Open Til Monday

I know this sounds like a broken record, but we have to postpone opening again! This time our scheduled opening is Monday, March 29. But you can depend on this one - I think.

Except for a few touch ups, the carpeting is finished - yeah! The baseboards are now installed, which means we can put all the bookcases in place. On the side of the Library that houses Fiction and Nonfiction, the bookcases are now all situated correctly - as they are in the back part of the Children's Section. Progress!

I work in the Business Office of the Library and am usually not allowed out of my glass cage to deal with books. (See pictures) But today I was helping to shelve the books in the Children's Section and developed a real appreciation for how time consuming that is. However, because of (or maybe in spite of) my help, Children's Fiction is completely reshelved. We also finished audio visual, but there aren't that many. It is very rewarding to finally finish one collection.

I have to feel sorry for those working downstairs. They started with Adult Fiction, which is far and away the largest collection - so they haven't had the experience of completing a collection. But once Fiction is complete, it will be downhill from there.

Wait, I take that back. Large Print is complete. It has been moved. It is now in between Fiction and Non Fiction. While waiting for the rest of the shelves in that area to be put in place, the Staff was able to reshelve Large Print.

If you had a book due at some point while we were closed, don't worry about it. There will be NO fines charged all next week - no matter when the book was due.

You may have noticed that our book drop has not been open. That is because we have no way to process any books, since none of the computers are available. Plus, we were afraid books in the book drop would get mixed up with other books or get lost altogether. So just hang onto your books and bring them in any time next week.

Here are the most recent pictures. Click on the arrow to replay the slide show, or click on any picture to go to the online album with captions. (If you're reading this on Facebook, you'll have to go to the original blog to see the pictures.)

Monday, March 22, 2010

It's Monday and We're Still Closed

Today was the day we originally planned on opening. Ha! If you look at the pictures, you'll see why that wasn't possible. But we are bound and determined to be open Wednesday, although we definitely won't be anywhere near to being finished. What a project this has been!

I was the lucky one and got to stay home for the weekend, but everybody else was here on Saturday and Sunday. It is going to take a long time to get all the books back where they belong, because after tomorrow, the work will have to go on while we're open to the public.

We are taking this opportunity to do some serious "weeding". That is Libraryspeak for removing outdated and unused books. Usually, weeding is a very methodical process. But there is no time for the methodology in this chaos. So once this is over, you might find some very good deals in the Friends of the Library twice monthly Book Sales.

The day we are opening is a Wednesday - and that's the day AARP is here doing taxes. We are hoping their room will be available. If you were planning on coming, check back here tomorrow for our final decision. It will definitely be held - but it might be moved.

Wednesday is also Children's Storytime, but that is definitely being canceled. In fact, all our Children's Librarians will be in Jackson that day in a workshop preparing for the Summer Library Program. When it rains, it pours!

We invite you all to come by on Wednesday, so you can see how pretty your Library is going to look - even if it is not quite finished yet.

Here are the most recent pictures. Click on the arrow to replay the slide show, or click on any picture to go to the online album with captions. (If you're reading this on Facebook, you'll have to go to the original blog to see the pictures.)

Friday, March 19, 2010

Thank Goodness It's Friday

Of course, work will continue over the weekend in our frantic effort to get open again. Still, it's nice to have the week over.

Library Staff is back at work again. This morning they cleaned and arranged the shelves in the Fiction and Nonfiction Sections. The carpeting is laid, but the baseboards still need to be put up. For reasons that totally escape us, the work crew will not put up the baseboards until they finish all the carpeting. That means we can't put bookcases against the wall. Our Staff will start replacing books, but it's very difficult when you don't have all the shelves in place. Just typical of this whole experience.

The whole idea was to carpet one section at a time. We would pack up and clean out a section, and the work crew would move in and complete it. Then we could go to the completed section and put it back together. Of course, we completed packing up the entire Library before the crew even finished carpeting the first section. Now that we've found out the baseboards won't be in until the end, it sort of messes up the whole system even further.

There is one part of this project that has been great. The Mississippi Library Commission has sent three consultants on Library design and layout to work with us during this process, and they have been great. Not only did they do our layout, but they have helped us with all the dirty work as well. Plus, they're just a lot of fun to be around.

And the Library Staff have been real troopers. Although they enjoyed the unexpected two days off, it also means they'll be working over the weekend. When we finally open again, you may find the Staff is a little bleary eyed and suffering from multiple muscle aches and pains.

Here is a slideshow of the pictures from today. Click on any picture to go to the online album with captions. (If you're reading this on Facebook, you'll have to go to the original blog to see the pictures.)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Trials and Tribulations

As many of you know. AARP is at the Library all day every Wednesday doing taxes. Originally we planned on letting them come even though we were closed, since they cannot afford to miss a day. Then we decided it was just too crazy here - and we needed the Meeting Room to store books. Fortunately, we have some very nice neighbors. The Presbyterian Church Child Care Center is right next door, and it had a spare room and a wireless internet connection. So we were able to send everyone over there.

That was the good news - and it was downhill from there. The Fiction and Nonfiction Sections were supposed to be complete by the end of the day Tuesday, so Library staff could start first thing Wednesday replacing books on the shelves. However, it was not close to being finished. So most of the Library staff got the day off on Wednesday, since there was nothing they could do. They deserved it - since they'd been doing constant phyical labor for days.

Most of the Library staff were told to stay home again today, since that section still wasn't finished. That was good news for the staff, but bad news for the Library. It will be Friday before books can even begin to be replaced - and it will take several days to complete the reshelving. What that means is that there is no way we'll be able to open on Monday, as planned.

Our new target date for opening in Wednesday, March 24. However, we will not have full services. We will be open for AARP tax services, and we hope to have internet service. After that, we'll provide whatever we can - but expect limited service at least through the end of the week.

A word of warning: the Library is filthy - the dust that was under the old carpeting is all over the place. It will probably take a while to finally clean it all up.

Once this is all over, I know we're all going to enjoy our renovated Library - so hang in there.

The latest set of pictures are below. Click on any picture to go to the online photos with captions. (If you're reading this on Facebook, you'll have to go to the original blog post to see the pictures.)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Our Library is a Mess

What were we thinking? This is such an undertaking - and nothing goes smoothly, not even lunch. We sent out for pizza. When it hadn't arrived in an hour, we called back. They lost our order, so we tried again. After another hour, it finally arrived. When Susan finally arrived in the lunch area, there was only one piece left. The workers were really starving! However, the pizza guy forgot his phone, and when he came to get it, he brought Susan another pizza - for free.

The most interesting thing to me was watching the bookshelves get moved. Those things are gigantic - check the pictures below. The workers attached wheels to a bunch of short 2X4s. Next they tilted and lifted the bookcase back and slid the wheels underneath. Then the 2X4s had to be centered under the bookcase. Finally, they screwed long 2x4s along each side of the bookcase to hold it steady and keep the bookcase from falling off. Then they rolled the bookcases to the other side of the Library. This all took at least 30 minutes. Then they moved on to the next book case. They'll have to go through the same process when they move them back.

Meanwhile, Library staff was working a few shelves ahead of the movers - packing and organizing all the books. The books had to be stored in rooms that weren't being carpeted - or in the trailer behind the library.

At some point, it was discovered that the area we thought was being carpeted was not what the city ordered. Panic! The area where all the fiction and nonfiction books were shelved - the area where the workers were busily moving shelves - had tiles, not carpeting. We thought the carpeting would extend into that area. But the City only bid out to replace existing carpeting. We had to carpet that area now that it was all torn up. Who knows how it will be paid for. We'll worry about that tomorrow.

We took this opportunity to put a fresh coat of paint on most walls, clean all the windows, and launder the curtains. It's going to look really nice - if we survive.

As I'm writing this, Library staff have packed everything downstairs. All the furniture has been moved to one side, and the carpeting has begun. There is an army of people up here on the second floor, starting the whole process again. The good news is that the bookcases are not as tall up here.

Did you see the nice article in the Democrat? Check it out - there were some good pictures.

Here's our new set of pictures. Click on any picture to go to the online album with captions, If you're reading this on Facebook, you'll have to go to the original blog to see them.

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Renovations Begin

If you came to the Library Saturday, you might have wondered what was going on. Staff was already hard at work packing up. In order to remove the old Gustav damaged carpeting and replace it with new carpeting, everything has to be packed up and moved out of the way. This is a major undertaking, to say the least.

We have 50,000 books to pack and move - and they must be kept in order and labeled, so we can put them back in the right place. Then those very heavy bookcases must be moved. Plus we have tons of electronic equipment to be disconnected and put away - and bunches of desks, tables, and chairs. It's quite overwhelming!

The work began in earnest the minute the Library closed at 1 pm on Saturday and continued all day Sunday. The pictures below show the progress made so far. I'll try to update the blog each day so you can keep up. (I get to stay in my office and do office work, while the others slave away. Aren't I lucky?)

Click on any picture to go to the online album with captions.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

We're Closing for Our New Look

Word certainly has gotten around that we will be closed next week for installation of new carpeting throughout the Library. I've had many people ask me about what we will be doing. Here are a few of the typical questions I've heard:

Will you have the week off? Well, the short answer to that is, no. We will all be participating in the packing, moving and replacing of all the books, furniture and shelving! We will have help, however. Fortunately we do not have to do it all.

What will you be doing? We will take this opportunity to rearrange and spruce up much of the Library. Following the carpet installation, we will make good use of the generous donations received in memory of Dr. Clifford Tillman. These donations will be matched with money from the Friends and will be used to refurbish our Periodicals room. We are looking to make the room a relaxing, well-appointed space for patrons and visitors to sit comfortably, read newspapers and magazines, use their laptops or just relax in quiet surroundings.

Many changes have occurred in reference collections in recent years. So many more online resources are available that Reference Departments have become smaller. On the other hand, our Young Adult (teen) section has grown tremendously in the last few years. So, what had been our Reference Room will now be our Teen Zone, and a reduced reference collection will be available in the old Large Print area. Some of the reference items will be moved to the non-fiction area and will be available for checking out.

We have had many requests for movies on DVD, and have received donations of DVD's. These donations will be added to our video collection. We will be happy to accept donations of DVD's after we reopen to expand this section.

Upstairs, you will find changes, as well. Our Children's department will be rearranged to be more welcoming and fun for our young readers. The Genealogy department will also undergo a “face-lift.” Come “check” us out!

Can I return my books? Yes, but… We would prefer if you would wait until we reopen to return your materials. Nothing will be due during the week we are closed. Eligible items may be renewed online, and you may leave a voice mail to request a renewal. Please leave a telephone number where you may be reached in case the items cannot be renewed. Materials may be returned in our drop box, if necessary. However, we will be boxing up and moving over 50,000 items, so unless you absolutely have to get your items in, please wait until we reopen to return them!

Thanks! We appreciate all the support and enthusiasm of our patrons who have expressed interest in these improvements and even offered to volunteer their time. We hope you will all be pleased with our new look and visit us often. Our intention is always to provide the best service possible. We think these changes will help us do just that! Thank you.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Luck of the Irish

March 17 is highlighted on my calender with a big green marker to remind myself it will be St Patrick's Day. It's my day to show off my heritage, to wear green, go to the parade in town, and search out a lucky shamrock - or even better catch a leprechaun and make him hand over that pot o' gold.

Did you know St Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, was not actually Irish? He was born on this day around the year 385 somewhere near Dumbarton, Scotland. When he was sixteen Patrick was captured by Irish raiders looking for slaves to work their farms. Six years later, he ran away, boarded a ship, and headed to Europe where he finished his education and had a vision from God telling him to return to Ireland and convert the pagans to Christianity. St Patrick is best known for ordering all the snakes to leave Ireland, an event that, according to legend occured on the mountain known as Croagh Patrick. On the last day in July every year, hundreds of pilgrims gather there to commemorate their patron saint. Here are some other interesting facts about the holiday:
  • Each year thousands of Irish Americans gather with their loved ones on St Patrick's Day to share a traditional meal of corned beef and cabbage. Though cabbage has long been an Irish food, corned beef only began to be associated with St Patrick's Day at the turn of the century. Irish immigrants living in New York City's Lower East Side substituted corned beef for their traditional dish of Irish bacon to save money.
  • Irish soda bread gets its name and distinctive character from the use of baking soda rather than yeast as a leavening agent.
  • Lime green chrysanthemums are often requested for St Patrick's Day parades and celebrations.
  • The first St Patrick's Day parade took place in the United States on March 17, 1762, when Irish soldiers serving in the English military marched through New York City.
  • More than 100 St Patrick's Day parades are held across the nation. New York City and Boston are home to the largest celebrations.
  • At the annual New York City parade, participants march up Fifth Avenue from 44th Street to 86th Street. More than 150,000 people take part in the event which does not allow cars or floats.
  • The shamrock, which is also called the "seamroy" by the Celts, was a sacred plant in ancient Ireland, because it symbolized the rebirth of spring. By the seventeenth century, the shamrock had become a symbol of emerging Irish nationalism. As the English began to seize Irish land and make laws against the use of Irish language and the practice of Catholicism, many Irish began to wear the shamrock as a symbol of their pride in their heritage and their displeasure with English rule.
  • It has long been told that during his time in Ireland, St. Patrick once stood on a hilltop with a wooden staff by his side and banished all the snakes from Ireland. In fact, the island nation was never home to any snakes. The "banishing of snakes" was really a metaphor for the eradication of pagan ideology from Ireland and the triumph of Christianity. Within 200 years of Patrick's arrival, Ireland was completely Christianized.
  • Belief in leprechauns probably stems from Celtic belief in fairies, tiny men and women who could use their magical powers to serve good or evil. In Celtic folktales, leprechauns were cranky souls responsible for mending the shoes of the other fairies. Though only minor figures in Celtic folklore the leprechauns were known for their trickery which they often used to protect their fabled "pot of gold".
  • Leprecauns had nothing to do with St Patrick or the celebration of St Patrick's Day. In 1959 Walt Disney released a film called Darby O'Gill and the Little People which introduced America to a very different sort of leprecaun. This cheerful, friendly leprechaun is a purely American invention, but quickly evolved into an easily recognizable symbol of both St Patrick's Day and Ireland in general.
St Patrick's Day is the one holiday where everybody can be Irish for the day. Folks run around with "Kiss Me I'm Irish" buttons, and I know a few of my friends who dye their beards green. Big cities celebrate by turning their rivers and harbors green (see the picture of Chicago). Local pubs serve green beer and hold Oh Danny Boy singing contests. All in all, it is a day of fun, and a day to reflect on one man's commitment to his faith.

St Patrick's Day is only two weeks away. For some fun activities for the family check out this website.