Monday, December 1, 2014

Moving a Library, Stage One

If you've ever moved, you know the special agonies of the process. I say "if," as though you've never had the experience. To be American is to move it seems, but my family has probably, and unfortunately, been above-average in this experience.

The sight of boxes and packing tape make us groan, though their necessity is indisputable. Sorting and organizing activities do have their positive benefits in keeping the load light and are a good precaution against being buried alive in all the stuff we effortlessly accumulate. Choices of what to keep and what to pitch are essential.

But this does not pertain to books. Books are not so easily dispensed with and the collection of these precious necessities of life is probably more valuable to us than dishes or bedding. Their numbers grew to the point that we found it necessary to open a library in order to alleviate the guilt we felt at owning so many without sharing them with as many people as possible. Well, that was one of the reasons we opened a library at least.

The library stayed in one place for almost seven years, though in its early days it did have to be moved twice. The difference between moving three thousand books and 17 thousand books, undeniably, is immense. It is very close to a logistical nightmare, to be quite honest.

But, that dreaded day has come and our family has left the farm to move 25 miles closer to Dad's job location. It took one truck to move all our belongings. We don't know how many truck loads it will take to move the library. The renters of our previous home consented to let the library stay put till we got settled, but the actual move occurred suddenly and the new location for the library was at first a mystery.

Searching for a new home that included space for such a library proved fruitless at first. Its previous location was a 450 square foot finished garage space. The home we finally decided upon had no such space. We attempted to find alternate locations for the library to rent, but those did not seem acceptable for either financial or distance considerations. What was a family with a library to do?

We prayed fervently, for one thing. When we finally found a place to live, we wondered if the unfinished full basement could possibly meet our needs, but it had some serious drawbacks. For one thing, and most concerning, there seemed to be a history of wetness in this basement. Everyone cautioned us against it. If you know books and you know water, you know that the latter is the enemy of the former. Even just dampness is a serious danger as mold and mildew spread like influenza in books. As collectors of old books, we have developed sensitive noses when it comes to any musty odors in those we intend to bring home.

Emily, the librarian, and all my other children protested against having the library somewhere else. They can't imagine not having it within arm's reach. Providentially, in this case, the month we moved into the new place was exceedingly wet. I didn't even know which direction the house faced because we didn't see the sun for several weeks and the dripping of rain was our first new background sound.

We investigated waterproofing techniques and kept our noses twitching. There seemed to be no residual moldy odor at all from any previous occurrences. There was no presence of leakage during this rainy season. Should we risk it?

But what about the entrance to the library? That was another huge consideration in making this decision. It is not an easy thing to have dozens of people tramping through your house to descend to the lower depths where the books are. Eventually we came up with a plan to build an entrance off the driveway so people could come directly in. Then we mapped out the amount of floor space we thought we needed, still leaving some room for family uses of the basement.

{We built a wall to separate the library from the garage}

The next step was waterproofing the cement walls and researching flooring options. My everlastingly supportive husband has worked tirelessly to prepare the space. He has come home from work each day and cheerfully tackled scrubbing, painting, dry walling, sawing and sanding. Last night he began laying industrial carpet on the floor. He shares our vision and is as excited as we are to make a place,
gratefully, an even larger space, for the books. It takes all family members to make such a ministry possible.

{Almost finished laying the carpet}

So now it's time to face the logistical perplexity of hauling all those 50 bookcases and 17,000+ books to their new home.

For the joy of reading,


1 comment:

  1. The family commitment is truly a wonder - may God bless your husband for his goodness!