Monday, August 18, 2008

Settling In (Moving Days G)

Meanwhile, back at our branch(es), we were hard at work boxing up and transporting the contents of the lower level of our building to the new place, not to mention some of our furniture, which was to serve as furniture in the new place until the comfier chairs and sofas we'd ordered months previously were to finally arrive. (It was around this time that former board member Mrs. Day began her unfortunate refinishing of the "liberry's" tables, ultimately resulting in Ms. D having to redo them all and then redo one of them yet again later.)

Most of the actual moving was accomplished withing a couple of days and most of the unboxing and shelving was done in a couple more. And with books finally starting to be shelved, the prospect of actually working in such a cool new place began to seem more real.

The new place truly was awesome. It sat high on a hill and offered great big windows,with possibly the best view of Town-A in the whole area. Not only that, but with the new place came far more space to operate in, offices for both Mrs. A and Mrs. C, a staff workroom with a desks and computers for both me and Mrs. B (that we technically had to share with Ms. M and Ms. S, but whatever) and actual counter space upon which we could accomplish such tasks as processing and covering books without having to be hunched over a tiny, rickety table. Mrs. A had even ordered task chairs for us, making sure that they were both backless and uncomfortable to sit on, precisely so that Ms. S wouldn't stay on her duff the whole time. And within that staff workroom was a private restroom for staff only! Oh, sure, we had a private restroom for staff only back in the old library, but it was in Mrs. A's office and was inconvenient to use when she was actually IN her office, plus patrons often used it, too, whenever she wasn't in there. Now we had our own "facilities" away from prying patron eyes and ears, complete with a column of lockers in which we could stash personal items. We were amazed.

The new circ desk was also a thing of beauty, with plenty of storage cabinets and drawers to fill. We had so many, in fact, that I eventually declared one of them The Barcode Drawer, and stored in it one sheet of barcodes which I used for magazine processing. This eventually lead to conversations such as:

ME-- Why are there totebags in the Barcode Drawer?

MRS. B-- I dunno.

ME-- No, you're supposed to say "The question is: Why are their barcodes in the Totebag Drawer?"

(Long pause)

MRS. B-- Oh.

No, my fellow employees don't watch as much Scrubs as I do.

Another major innovation was the installation of a new phone system so that when Mrs. A received phone calls we wouldn't have to walk all the way to her office to tell her; we could just transfer the call. And another phone line was also installed to allow us to take multiple calls from multiple phones.

We also had a staff breakroom on our lower level complete with a full sized refrigerator, a microwave, a stove, a double sink, a dishwasher and loads and loads of cabinet space in which we could store... well, groceries, I guess. Sounds a lot like a kitchen, right? Nope. Not a kitchen. Not a kitchen at all. And, sure, while people who eventually were going to rent out our multi-purpose room, located there on the same level, could use it AS a kitchen, it was most certainly NOT a kitchen. This was mostly because if we'd called it a kitchen the health department would be duty-bound to come round and inspect it once in a while. They didn't have to inspect staff breakrooms, though, so that's what it officially became on all plans and signage.

Back upstairs, we had a far bigger children's book area, with sections for juvenile and easy readers. It practically took up an entire wing of the building. And we located the young adult section to the other side of the building, since many of the young adult patrons we'd had before looked down their nose at having to browse in the "children's" section. (They also got the comfiest furniture in the entire building, not that they appreciated it, the little turds. The Coot often camped out there to sleep his way through the afternoon.)

With no one there but the staff, our workdays were pretty leisurely. We'd roll in wearing shorts and flip flops and work on individual tasks with headphone and podcast accompaniment until lunch time. Then we'd go get food and cart it back to enjoy in front of the big window. (We figured it would be the only time we'd be able to eat with that kind of view, so we might as well enjoy it while we could.) And every few days would bring a delivery of some new furniture that we'd get to try out. Yep, those days were pretty sweet.

As for the books, we had ample space available so that we didn't even have to use all the levels of any given set of shelves. We separated paperbacks and hardbacks, even trade sized paperbacks that had formerly been shelved with the hardbacks because they wouldn't fit on the old spin racks. Now the spin racks were a thing of the past. The trouble was, once we put stuff on the shelves, we quickly saw more efficient ways to shelve things, so we had to rearrange entire sections to suit the new plan. Mrs. C warned us early on that we'd probably be making adjustments for the first year, so we should get used to it early. She was indeed correct in her prediction.



liberryan said...

I wish we had a staff bathroom. We have to face terrible sights and odors every day and use the patron restrooms. *shiver*

Anonymous said...

I'm delighted to finally hear these stories. I'm guessing you didn't post them at the time for fear of your customers googling "new library west virginia" and finding you, right?

A few questions:

1. Does the new building have computer-scheduling software or are they still using the egg timers

2. Why is the coot allowed in the children's room? Is there no policy prohibiting this?

3. Whatever happened to Mrs. J.? I liked her.

Juice S. Aaron said...


Hey, great to hear from you. Believe me, there are more stories yet to come.

1. Nope, still not using scheduling software, though the idea has been gaining in popularity among the staff due to the fact that we abandoned the egg timers altogether. (That's another post right there.) With 10 computers, the timers would be unworkable. Almost as unworkable as keeping track of it by the computer sign in sheet, which is pretty much what we did. Fortunately, it actually took several months to become unworkable.

2. There's no children's room, per se, more of a children's area. The young adult area is across the building and is butted up against the nonfiction, so while the comfiest furniture is technically in the YAs, it could also be argued that it's in the NF, too. So far there's not been a problem and the Coot is not precisely a problem patron as far as him hanging around the younger set.

3. She's still alive and kicking. In fact, we've got a tale involving Mrs. J coming up tomorrow.

An employee of a small town "liberry" chronicles his quest to remain sane while dealing with patrons who could star in a short-lived David Lynch television series.