Monday, September 10, 2018

Life at 110 Roosevelt

The book drop has arrived, the book drop has arrived.  No, the British are not coming, but the book drop has arrived.  This is the last major milestone of the move from 290 Plainfield Avenue to 110 Roosevelt Avenue.  Several smaller milestones, perhaps only milepebbles, are still to be accomplished.

It is safe to say that we are so settled in the convent/rectory that no large pieces of furniture have been moved recently and the electrician has not been called again to install more light fixtures.  We understand that we can safely hang out a second floor window to clean the drains in the flat roof sections or, if we decide to stay safe and dry, where to put the buckets to catch the water dripping through the ceiling in the back hall.

The Recreation Department staff is now occupying three rooms on the upper level.  No one expected them to be evicted from the blue house so quickly.  Getting their phone number and extensions transferred has evolved into one of the milepebbles referred to earlier.  Patience truly is a virtue when dealing with the various service providers involved.

Reaction to the building has been varied.  A patron who has been visiting the library since she was a small child came in with her grandchildren last week.  She was absolutely enchanted by the coziness and loved how carefully the collections had been scattered throughout the spaces.  Also last week, a patron stopped me in a store to tell me the building is claustrophobic and how she felt like she was intruding in a private home when she walked from room to room.  The reaction from many people is a pleasant surprise at how much we managed to squeeze into the smaller space.  The reaction from some people is displeasure that we didn’t bring their favorite book.  I am occasionally surprised when the first title in a series went into storage but the next seven titles are here.  When dealing with over 75,000 items I think we did fairly well.

We were purchasing new books, DVDs, audio books and downloadable titles even while the library was closed.  The focus was bestsellers and series titles so the New Book shelves would be ready for re-opening.  The focus has since expanded, but we are still purchasing cautiously with an eye on available space.  Titles that are considered NBNE (nice but not essential) or received mediocre reviews are not making the cut.  Be sure to ask for a request slip if you don’t find what you’re looking for.  We’ll check the reviews, check the catalogs of nearby libraries or, depending on the age of the book, try Interlibrary Loan.  More patrons are trying ebooks and eaudio from Hoopla and OverDrive.  Try it, you might like it.

The actual distance between 290 Plainfield and 110 Roosevelt is minimal.  It is right around the corner or a pleasant walk through the woods and over the bridge.  The difference between the two locations seems much larger – from a busy street to a quiet wooded site with frequent visits from the local deer population.  The cozy feel encouraged us to start a community jigsaw puzzle – one or two people are frequently sitting in the puzzle room looking puzzled.

Stop in soon if you haven’t been here yet.  Regular hours, including 2 - 5 on Sundays, started after Labor Day and will continue through June.
~S. Bakos

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Designer Showcase: Library Version

Designer Showcases appear throughout New Jersey every spring.  They are major fundraisers for hospitals, The Junior League, and other worthy organizations.  Best of all, you can see beautiful furnishings, architecturally interesting buildings, and spring gardens.  Also, you can eat lunch in a big white tent.

Every designer showcase has before and during the transformation pictures in every room.  The before pictures are frequently black & white and give the impression that you will see ghosts if the light is just right.  We should have taken more before pictures to help everyone understand how much several of the spaces at 110 Roosevelt Avenue have changed.  

A prime example is Circulation, the most easily identified room inside the front door. It started as a small office with a door to the center hall and a small window where staff could talk to anyone entering the Rectory.  To become an efficient space for a public library it was necessary to move the door around to the side, enlarge the small window, and cut a new large window on the hallway.  Bits and pieces of the old upstairs and downstairs circulation desks have been cobbled together to provide workspace for staff to check books in and out.

The main hallway is wide enough to house the entire DVD collection.  Making two-sided shelving into one-sided shelving was noisy and dusty.  The new copier is also pictured.

Creating an ADA compliant bathroom involved eliminating one door, widening one door, joining back-to-back closets together, removing an old bathtub, and repositioning two new toilets and
a basin.  The size of the space and necessary requirements required creativity and careful planning as well as dealing with plumbing from the early 1960’s. 

 The final result, after the bathroom construction, included the extra bonus of a bright and comfortable newspaper/magazine room.

In several rooms, fortunately, we only needed to place the shelves and seating.  A previous conference room was easily transformed into space for fiction, romance, mysteries, and assorted tables and chairs.  The Children’s Department encompasses the back hall for J and YA books, the original dining and sitting rooms for picture books, non-fiction, easy readers, and the usual puzzles and fun stuff.  Lighting throughout the building was improved as needed.