Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Typical Day (Moving Days E)

The first thing we did to facilitate the move was to spread the word far and wide that while we weren't accepting any help with the move itself, patrons could help with it all the same by lightening our load. To that effect, we had removed all limitations on the number of books patrons could check out at once and encouraged them to take as many as they could, the caveat being that they had to turn all those books in at our new place when we reopened. Furthermore, all fines would be waived until such a time as we were firmly ensconced in our new facility, so there would be no fear of zapping people. Our patrons, thankfully, complied and checked out a great many books.

The second major thing we did was to hire on someone whose job it would be to help plan the move itself and make things run as smoothly as we could. Her name was Ms. D. Yes, the very same Ms. D we eventually hired to replace eternal newbie greenhorn Ms. S. See, Ms. S was still with us at that time, but was, as you would expect, of very little help with the move itself. Her schedule with her fast food job suddenly became very very busy and there was just no way she could break away during the times of day we were doing the major portion of our moving (i.e. mornings, when it wasn't so butt-ass hot) so she was unavailable to help us much with that. Her schedule only allowed her to roll in in the afternoon, after most of the heavy lifting had already been done. While we were not surprised by that turn of events, we weren't too put out by it either, cause we knew she'd be useless at actual work anyway. Instead, Ms. D stepped in and helped get us moving.

So, one morning, we began boxing up the nonfiction. It was slow going, with each of us taking one shelf column at a time, boxing up the books according to how best they fit in the boxes while still attempting to maintain as much order as possible. Size concessions had to be made, though, in order to have boxes that would be full enough to be stable when stacked. Very quickly it became apparent that even after we got the books moved, we'd be reading the nonfiction shelves for order for quite some time to come.

With our original building being as ancient as it was, we had to be careful to stack our newly boxed books along the edges of the room and directly beside the shelves on which they had resided. Part of the reason for needing a new building, after all, is that the weight of the books had been causing undue strain on the support structure of the second floor itself for a number of years.

The next major problem was actually moving the boxes downstairs. With no elevator to speak of, we had to be more innovative. So we rented one of those long metal box conveyor platforms that I don't know the real name of. Whatever it's called, it's the kind with rows and rows of metal wheels that allow boxes to slide along horizontally, only, we tipped ours up and ran it down the stairs. What we did then was to haul hand-truck loads of boxes to the top of the stairs and slide their contents down the conveyor contraption at very dangerous speeds. Each heavy box of books would then be caught by the catcher (fortunately not me) and passed to someone loading a handtruck at the bottom of the stairs (often me). Once loaded, each hand-truck would be trucked out to the UHaul. It wasn't the most elegant of systems, but it saved a lot of knee and back strain going up and down the stairs. Within the space of six hours, we'd pretty much boxed everything up, moved it into the van. Another hour later and we'd unloaded the boxes at the new place.

For some reason, we decided it would be wise to stack all of our boxes of nonfiction in the aisles of the shelf sections that corresponded to where we thought they would need to be shelved. This was a bad thing. Once the boxes were stacked in the aisles between shelves they were then in the way and became an enormous hassle to try and work with. The box you needed to unpack was always on the bottom of the stack and we were forever getting them out of order as we tried to unbox and shelve them. We quickly determined that for all future shelving, we would have to pile the boxes outside of the shelving area, preferably in order, and haul each box into the stacks as needed. Lesson learned.


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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.