Thursday, April 8, 2010

Spring Cleaning at the Library

Lots of people have stopped me to ask if we are finished, yet. The short answer is “No!” – but what they generally mean is, “Are you open, yet?” That answer is “Yes!” – but, again, with a clarification. Not all of our collections are ready and available. We still have some spring cleaning to do.

Nonfiction is one area we are giving special attention to. Our circulation statistics (check outs!) show we check out nearly four times the number of adult fiction titles than nonfiction. This, obviously, is an indication that the majority of our patrons prefer fiction. So, we are evaluating many of the items in the nonfiction area to see if we still need them. In library-lingo that means we are weeding our collection. Merriam-Webster defines weed(ing) as

“to clear of weeds, to free from something hurtful or offensive, to remove the less desirable portions of, to get rid of (something harmful or superfluous).”
When we weed, we are removing the less desirable portions of a collection. The criteria we use are standards. We check our database and find (1) the subject, (2) the publication date, (3) the last time the item was checked out, (4) the number of times an item was checked out, and (5) the condition of the item. Different subjects have differnt standards. For example, a title related to history would be considered very differently from a book with medical or scientific information.

Other collections that still need spring cleaning are Reference, Teen, and Genealogy. The Reference collection is currently being evaluated in the same manner as Nonfiction. The Teen area will be the last to be addressed as it will move into the former Reference Room, which is still full of books. An interesting aside to that room is that a friend of mine, who is a retired librarian, was in town last week. She came by to see how the library looked and was delighted to find that the Reference Room is going to be our new Teen Room. She had started her library career here under Miss Gralow and was here when the Armstrong Library was built. Apparently, that room was originally intended to be a Teen Room, but was, instead, designated for use as a Reference Room. How’s that for some trivia?

The Genealogy area is currently being used for storage of unused shelving. However, we hope to have that area cleaned up and that collection available for use by the end of next week. The Jersey Settlers are scheduled to meet here on April 24, so we have to have that area ready by then!

This project has been HUGE, but worth it. Our sore muscles have sore muscles, but we are very satisfied with the results. The building has a definite airiness and is welcoming now. All the comments we have received have been positive. We certainly appreciate all the patience our patrons have allowed with this project. It is never a good thing to be closed – not even for one week, much less two – but all aspects of the project conspired against us being able to reopen in a more timely manner. Thank you.

BTW – next week is the “official” National Library Week. We will have some activities, but we are waiting to hold OUR National Library Week and Open House when we have all the interior work completed. That includes all the collections in place and the furniture ordered for the Dr. Clifford Tillman Memorial Reading Room delivered. We expect our Open House will be held during the first or second week in May. Come by and see the changes – we hope you like what we’ve done!

A library in Indiana was undergoing renovations, which of course took longer than expected. To keep everyone in good spirits during the wait, they made this video. Check it out - it's hilarious.

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