August 24, 2010

Mystery at the Library: Where the @#!^* are the books?

Once the second floor reopens, you'll have to relearn where everything is.
Here's the new floorplan; windows overlooking the lake are at right

Renovations at the Racine Public Library will sorely test the patience of adult readers for the next three months. How will we muddle through? Is it all a plot to force us to buy (ugh!) Kindles?

The Library announced today that it will be closed on Wednesday, Sept. 1, but will reopen on Thursday, Sept. 2 "with limited services to patrons." If you're an adult reader, that's somewhat of a misnomer: The immediate reopening will not include anything above the first floor. In other words, the fiction, non-fiction, reference, magazines and DVD collections will be off-limits.

For 12 weeks! Is life even worth living?

The closure will accommodate "a reorganization of materials and services to prepare for extensive re-carpeting and renovation work" on the second floor. The one-time atrium area that's been curtained off since mid-June (see here) has now become additional floor space, and all the bookstacks must be moved around into the library's new configuration. The extra space will be welcome, of course -- if we can just survive the next 12 weeks of going cold turkey.

Readers will be unable to browse any of the library's second floor adult materials during this phase of the renovation. To obtain adult materials, patrons will have to place a hold on items via the Mobile Library (262.939.2264), the library’s website, or through telephone reference services (262.636.9217).  But some items placed on hold may not be accessible at all during renovations. Materials in the Youth Services Dept. will be available.

Access to the library's internet terminals and study areas will be severely limited during the second floor renovations. The library will relocate eight computers for adult use to the first floor atrium; usage will be limited to one hour. Study areas will be limited to tables in the Youth Services Department on the first floor, but after 2 p.m. children will be given priority.

The Mobile Library will remain open on Sept 1 and materials due on that date will be extended to Sept. 2.  For a schedule of the Mobile Library’s neighborhood stops call it at 262.939.2264, the main library at 262.636.9217, or visit the library’s website.

Absolute Construction Enterprises is replacing the old carpet, Balestreiri  Group is removing asbestos beneath the carpet, Hallett Movers is moving shelves and materials, and Embury, Ltd. is installing new shelving.

Questions or comments may be directed to library director Jessica MacPhail at 262.636.9252.

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  1. The library was only supposed to be closed for 6 weeks, now they are up to 12. What is going on over there?!?

  2. What is double the construction time costing the taxpayers?

  3. Suggest they take the next couple weeks to set up an alternative system to lend out as many books as possible for three months, instead of two or three weeks. Let folks stock up on 10, 20, 30 books, so they'll have reading materials while the stacks are closed. If they want to get really creative, post an online exchange, where library card holders could pass the books around among themselves over the closure period, exchanging electronic IOUs to make sure they're returned when the renovations are done. People could have their books, they could exchange them among library members and a lot of the books would be out of the way in the renovations.

    It could work. Libraries that have moved often asked their cardholders to take out as many books as possible in the run-up weeks, then return them to the new library site. That way, they avoided much of the expense of moving them.

    Perhaps It's a more creative solution than just shutting down a lot of access.

  4. nobody cares about the internet cafe.. i mean library.

  5. The construction time was doubled after Dickert got involved and pushed them to hire one of his campaign supporters to do the work.

  6. I like the idea of being about to check out books for an extended time!

    I've heard stories of when the RPL moved to the current site from what is now the Historical Museum there was a human chain that books were passed down - in order - and then shelved in the new library.

    With all of the open storefronts and buildings around town wouldn't there be a place to offer some book checkout and access to materials.

    Where will all those who work in the Adult library be while this is going on?

    Love my library & will have make use of the hold system and get the bookmobile schedule. Glad the Youth Services Dept. will still be open and running! I hope the computers for adults will not take over the story hour room or too much space.

  7. Sounds like mismanagement to me. Why doesn't city hall look into what is going on over there?

    I homeschool my teens and need to have access for the first 3 months of the school year. Holds are OK, but not very convenient.

    I blame the management for this situation. Every time I have talked to one of their "managers" they have been unhelpful or uninformed. What a bunch of clowns.

  8. Racine Post - and your point is? Maybe you'd like the library to just go to hell. Last I heard, it's important to maintain property to retain its value. I assume you think it is an easy task.

    And Randy, considering you are such a fast reader, why don't we let people check out 100 books before they close the 2nd floor - once again you are an idiot.

  9. Sir - the point isn't that the library shouldn't maintain it's value. More that perhaps the project could have been worked another way so that the public isn't inconvenienced for 3 MONTHS. That's a long time to ask people to be patient.

  10. Come on...we should probably expect that a big renovation like that will cause distruption of services. Sounds like they are trying to minimize the disruption and now that you have a heads-up, go and stock up on a bunch of books and settle down with some lemonade for some good summer reading. I, for one, love the electronic hold system...I use it to obtain books from lots of other libraries that our library might not have on the shelves. It's convenient and fast and a great way to access lots of great books...enjoy!

  11. I want my books now, now, NOW! How dare the library cause me any convenience.

  12. Mobile Library is still going to be working, and you can put what ever you want on hold...chill out people!

  13. Maybe I'll watch more television for 12 weeks.

  14. For tranparency, I am a member of the Library Board of Directors, but I SPEAK ONLY FOR MYSELF.

    Perhaps it would help to know that patrons can indeed STILL take out books, but the system works as a "closed stack" process. Runners will search for the books for the patrons. Of course, some books may be out of reach or unavailable, (*ANDD IT MAY TAKE AWHILE TO GET ANYTHING) but the end-result will be a second floor with more space, a better layout and be more useful for all patrons.

    Secondly, given the size of the second floor and the nature of the work, the process is going as fast as possible. The asbestos removal was news to the project, setting back any time line. And of coaurse, anyone who has worked with any construction knows that time-lines are approximate.

    Finally, I would also like to thank library users for their patience...and for using the library! Every measure of library use has shown tremendous increases. Personally, I am sure that the new second floor will only make the Library even easier to use and attract more people to self-culture!