Monday, December 22, 2014

Moving a Library, Stage 3

I guess the trials of life bring common phrases to mind. I began the last update with "the devil is in the details," and another common saying rolling around my head in this next phase of moving is, "the best laid plans," the origin of which is a poem by Robert Burns, as well as a remark of Ma Ingalls', "no loss without some small gain," both of which exemplify our next step in moving a monster, otherwise known as our beloved library.

{All packed and ready to load}

Last week we were a wee bit ahead of schedule as my husband finished painting, cleared debris, glued carpet seams. Gleefully we rented the biggest moving truck we could secure for our purposes, knowing that a second trip was inevitable as our math assured us that 50 bookcases, five tables, the book carts, and who knows how many boxes (we still haven't a final count on those) would not all make it into the truck. Two nights before the big day, a friend whom we haven't seen in months and is not a member of the library, e-mailed to ask if we could use a trailer for the big event. Since we live in an area where the weather is more likely to rain than not, we were reluctant to use an open vehicle, but, oh joy, we were told it was a covered trailer. The truth of the Christmas message "God with us," and unexpected angels sent with good news is an extra cause for thanks.

{Moving boxes to get to the bookcases}

{A giant puzzle of bookcases and boxes of books}

So, with my two young sons and another boy who is a library member, my husband set off to tackle the emptying of the old library room. Emily insisted upon overseeing the loading, "I'm too much of a control freak to let them do it without me," her defense. I gladly undertook the task of minding her baby at home. It took between three and four hours to load all the furniture and boxes onto the truck and into the trailer and, ready for some lunch, they set out to make the 25 mile journey to our new home.
{Big Truck is almost full}

Our original plan was to remove the bookcases first, arrange them, then bring in the boxes last so that we would not be hampered by their formidable stacks or have to move them out of the way repeatedly. Since we were fortunate in not having to make two trips, one for bookcases, a second for the boxes, this did not work out quite satisfactorily. In order to stabilize the upright bookcases on the vehicle and pack as efficiently as possible, boxes were the first things that needed to be unloaded. As I said, we still have no idea how many of these hefty boxes there are, but stacking them along one 25 foot long wall in three tiers was not sufficient to keep them out of the way. Two men and three boys were fatiguing by mid afternoon when our discovery that our plan on paper for the arrangement of the shelving was not working.

Apparently, minor measurement discrepancies of our variously-sized bookcase dimensions was enough to throw off the entire plan. The patience of all the lifters was tried as Emily and I suggested that first one, then another heavy bookcase be removed from one spot to another, then others pushed and pulled into position to maximize shelf and floor space, again and again.

By 5:00 p.m., after nine hours of backbreaking lifting, hauling, carrying, and shoving, we called a halt. Everyone was exhausted, hungry, and Emily's baby was protesting, "enough!" - in so many wails.

The good news is that no bookcases, many of which have seen hard service for many years, and most of which are not of great construction quality, fell apart. Everything was moved. All books and furniture were in their new home. The space we had in the previous library has been increased by 33%. In spite of the misjudged accommodations (let this be a living math lesson for our children), we still get to acquire six new bookcases to hold the 20 boxes of books we have not had room to bring into the library before. Furthermore, there were no injuries or accidents as a result of all the exertions.

{Starting to set up the new space}

The site is not pretty yet. There is much work ahead to rearrange a suitable flow of traffic in and out and around the new space. Lights need to be installed before we can begin unpacking and shelving, bookcases need to be anchored in place, and my boys have lots of lifting and stacking of heavy cartons ahead of them. Most daunting of all, Emily has the task of replacing nearly 17 thousand books one by one on the shelves. In order. In her spare time.

But these are tasks for another day, after some much needed rest. The books are "home for Christmas." We asked our angel with the trailer why he thought of offering his time and trailer and he said, "because I wish all libraries were privately owned so there would be quality literature to read."

One book at a time, we will keep making that dream a reality.

For the joy of reading,

Liz

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