Wednesday, March 25, 2009

More Construction Photos

We got another set of construction photos this morning (and were duly warned that although things seem to be moving with some celerity now, we may later have the opposite impression) but it’s difficult not to get a little bit excited about them since the size and outline of the building are so much more apparent.

The approach to the building is clearer now.

The framing for the upper floors is in place.

The big machines are working in what will be our office and stack space; the small orange one in the center is more or less in Joanne's future office. (Or possibly it's the back of the stacks - we're not entirely sure how it matches up to the blueprints).

We are excited (and not least because we can visualize where our windows will be)! On that note, I'd also like to add that I'm proud to be counted as a 2009 Shover and Maker - with all this construction, it seems, somehow, appropriate.

Construction pics courtesy of Bernard Moore, Drexel University College of Medicine.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Big Dig

The speed of the building progress caught us by surprise. Just a few short weeks ago, I visited the hole in the ground, which was unreasonably impressive - we could actually imagine ourselves moving in and managing our materials there in the dirt.

Since we are not currently at the same location as the new building site, more thrills came when these images were sent.

Forms for walls.

Progress as of just last week. The first pour: setting the forms for the rails that will support the compact shelving.

Before we know it we'll be loading our 9,000 linear feet of shelf space...

Zamboni for concrete.

Construction pics courtesy of Bernard Moore, Drexel University College of Medicine.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Fun with Furniture

Yesterday we attended a Furniture Fair, featuring a number of Drexel-approved vendors. While we still aren't sure exactly how much new furniture we'll be able to afford as part of the move, it was a nice way to get started thinking about the possibilities in slightly more concrete terms. I hadn't realized the variety of options now available in the office furniture market - but luckily we now have something on the order of fifty catalogs to keep ourselves thinking about what we'd like.

While most of the offerings were reasonably straightforward, we did come across a magnificent publication from a company called Coalesse (Artsy layouts! Floating pullquotes in edgy fonts! Different kinds of paper in one catalog!). They described themselves thusly:

With products that fit as naturally in the office as the living room, Coalesse focuses on the increasingly growing similarities between work and life.

Gone are the harsh lines and glaring surfaces that have long characterized the workplace. Coalesse has replaced them with softened, contoured shapes that represent the new sensibilities of the modern way we work.
To that end, we decided we had no choice but to invest in this $12,000 chair for our new reading room:

I'm sure our researchers would appreciate it.

But in all seriousness, we did get the opportunity to give the treadmill workstation a try - and we absolutely loved it.

It would make cataloging and working with our accessions data a breeze - and we'd keep fit too! If only we could find a grant to pay for it...

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Every Day is Ladies' Day with Me

March is here, and with it I'm seeing a bit of an uptick in reference requests from elementary schools working on projects for Women's History Month. We love getting these requests (anything that has kids looking for primary sources is a good thing in my book), but by the same token we don't go out of our way to do much as part of Women's History Month - simply because our stewardship of the Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania collection means that's (largely) what we do all day, every day, year-round.

Want to know more about the first American woman to be dean of a medical school? We have that. How about what female doctors did during and after the First World War (when the US government didn't want them officially involved)? Got that too. Want to know what female medical students did for fun when they weren't studying? We can help there as well. Need a fix on what it was like to be one of a very few woman medical missionaries in the 19th century? You're covered!

While on one hand endeavors like Women's History Month can make it seem (to the non-specialist) as though 'our' part of the larger American mosaic only needs to be discussed once a year, on the other it definitely does point out to the younger user that this history is here (and not all online!) and that it is important. The challenge is keeping that higher level of awareness throughout their academic careers so that they can become the next generation of historians, curators, museum-goers and (perhaps most importantly) interested citizens who work to keep cultural institutions going when economic times get tough. It's a start.

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