Friday, 17 June 2011

Work in progress...

..a photographic record of the first stage of our library level 5 refurbishment project.

Over 6 busy days from Saturday 11 June, Universal Removals have packed stock from the library shelves into crates, dismantling the shelving as they go.

Removing the shelving helped free up floor space to manoeuvre crates into place and take away the dismanted furniture.

The corridor towards the rear of the floor area, where the Audio-visual collection was housed, was heavily used as a route for the removal team to take crates in and out towards the lift. Library staff meanwhile had the opportunity for some extra fitness training, to coincide with Staff well-being day, as the lift was commandeered for removals.

Over 3300 crates were required to pack the books and other materials from level 5 to take them to their temporary storage location in Greenford. This mean more than 15 round trips to and from the University with around 200 crates filling the lorry.

And in less than 6 weeks time, we'll see these crates return to Northampton Square - with smart new shelving waiting for the contents!

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Preparing for a moving experience

In my student days, the cup final and the end of the football season usually served as a cue for the summer diet of examinations to begin.
Nowadays, the football season encroaches further into the cricket calendar and seems to lack a definite completion date.
And to complicate things even further, here at City, almost all the Undergraduate student exams were done and dusted before the cup final even took place this year!

The end of the undergraduate student calendar tends to bring us to a bit of a fallow period in library user activity but it has been a very busy time over the last few weeks as we prepare for a major refurbishment of level 5 of the University Library.
Email messages have been circulated, and our subject librarians have been spreading the word, to tell the University community what's going on. For about 6 weeks from mid-June, most of the book collection housed on level 5 will be put into storage.

There's never a good time to mothball a library collection and inconvenience users by closing an entire floor of the library. The postgraduate student community around the University will find
this particularly frustrating with students working towards dissertation submission deadlines and other cohorts, such as speech therapy students, on placements and facing exams during this period.
So the message we've been putting out is, essentially, try to borrow the books you need before level 5 closes and you can have more than your usual quota of 15 or 20 items as well.

Preparation work has also entailed liaising with the various sub-contractors to make sure disruption is kept to a minimum.
The main activity during the first week of the project (from 11 June) will be removing the old furniture on level 5 and packing the books away for temporary storage. Then electrical work will begin to improve the lighting.
The contractors involved in these jobs have been given guidelines about timing restrictions for noisy work.

We're mindful that Law students will still be using level 4 of the library in good numbers until the Graduate Diploma exams are completed on 23 June.

So plenty happening around the library at the moment - perhaps it's a good thing that there isn't the distraction of a major international football tournament this summer......

On the move...

After several months of preparation (weekly project meetings, visits to other libraries, visits to furniture showrooms), the latest phase of University Library refurbishment is under way.

ICS, the main contractor, took over responsibility for level 5 of the library early in the morning of Saturday 11th June. Universal Removals team quickly moved in to begin dismantling the furniture and packing the books from the shelves on to crates.

Photographs to follow!

The removals team were keen to make hay while the sun shone - or at least while the refectory lift was freely available - and had managed to pack over half the books on level 5 into crates by Monday morning.

A quick spot check of several crates gave a reassuring outcome. The removals team have been instructed to pack the books into 60 demarcated runs spread across 10 zones with a numbered label given to each shelf. I had a peek into quite a few crates and found the shelfmarks I expected to see inside each one!

In total, over 3300 crates will be required to package the books from level 5 off to the storage facility located in Greenford, West London. About 200 crates can be accommodated in one lorry trip.

Our library users certainly seemed to get the message about the impending closure - the number of items borrowed in the week leading up to the closure increased by about 300% on the corresponding week last year.
A lot of hard work also went into relocating key textbooks from level 5 to level 6 to keep these available for borrowing or reference during the refurbishment period.