Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Change is coming!

Over 4,200 signed up for Summer Reading so far. Over 20% more use of the library this year than last year. How is the Plainfield Library going to keep up with the demand?

Well, the Library Board of Trustees approved a plan in June that will move things around, streamline some operations and generally allow the Library to continue meeting the community's needs as best we can with what we have. This spring, the Trustees and I challenged the staff: give us ideas that will improve our services to the community but will not cost a lot of money to implement. We asked for your suggestions too - here, on the Library's web site, and in the local press. From those ideas, the management team crafted the plan that was presented in June. Housing additional materials was the #1 priority in the development of this plan. With more demand than ever, the Library cannot meet the needs of the community without shelves to hold more stuff!

With a $50,000 project budget approved for the upcoming fiscal year from the Special Reserve Fund (the Library's sole fund for capital and emergency monies), the Library will add six additional ranges of shelving that is 90" tall. Those are the tall ones upstairs. Currently there are six shorter ranges of shelving in the center of the Adult collections - 4 on the Fiction side and 2 on the Non-Fiction side. The replacement of those shorter shelving ranges with the taller ones will not only provide additional shelf space in the Adult Fiction and Non-Fiction areas, they begin a domino effect of moves for the collections that will result in:

1. Relocation of the Local History and Genealogy collections to the Original Library (formerly called the Adult Quiet Room), as well as the newspapers, dictionaries and atlas stands.
2. An additional shelving range for the Foreign Language collections, allowing for the growth of the Spanish, Polish, and Hindi collections.
3. Replacement and relocation of the Young Adult & Teen collection shelving, increasing the height of the ranges to 66" for all, for a net increase in shelf space.
4. The former Local History Room will become a group study room.
5. The former Study Room will become an office for the Youth Services Department.
6. Telephone reception and some other Circulation duties will move from the Registration Desk to the Circulation Workroom.
7. Holiday books for kids will get a new home using one of the shorter shelving ranges being replaced elsewhere.
8. YS Reference books will move to the center aisle of the YS Non-Fiction side.
9. Two shelving ranges being replaced on the YA/Teen side will be relocated to the center aisle of the YS Fiction side for additional shelf space.
10. All tables for the YS department will be relocated to the Bay Window Area behind the YS Desk.
11. The YS Desk will be reconfigured to better serve the department.

Overall, the shelving will be taller and closer together, but still meets ADA requirements. Tables will be closer together, clustered, and fewer of them. The one remaining "quiet" area will be the Study Room.

So when will all of this happen? We are targeting a fall date, possibly September, for the shelving shift. The Library will remain open during he project, so staff will need your understanding as the collections, furnishings, etc. shift. The shelving/relocation proposals will go before the Board on July 15. Exact dates of the internal shifting will be determined by the delivery of the shelving - something notorious for taking longer than the vendor initially promises.

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