Friday, June 12, 2009

This Thing Is Actually Happening

Not an appropriate storage solutionWe had one of our not-as-frequent-as-they-should-be formal staff meetings yesterday and as you might expect, our move was one of the larger topics of conversation. The concept is becoming less ephemeral as the building looks more and more like a real building, even if the actual move-in date keeps shifting. We hear that it's possible construction will be largely completed at the end of October, and that our compact shelving could be installed at that point - and that's when the fun begins.

Our collections are currently in three major chunks as far as their physical locations - a small portion is here on-site in Hagerty Library, a very large segment is in our 'local' offsite storage and another grouping of possibly indeterminate size is held by Iron Mountain. We discussed whether it makes sense to move any one group first, leaving space for the others, since we'd like to start actually putting items in accession order (notwithstanding the fact that there are a few different systems of accessions floating around - and of course scary unaccessioned items). It's clear in any event that getting everything in order is the new space will be a very long process; just the initial integration of these three groups that have not seen each other in years is going to be tricky. We do not know yet whether we will be able to rely on the movers for their large library carts (and manpower) in terms of simply getting things staged and on shelves, but we do know that we need to get it done (at least a first pass) with some celerity - there is a planned opening event for the building in January (for which we also want to create a small exhibition), and we're going to be involved in quite a few major events throughout 2010.

As our goal is to complete the move without having to shut down entirely to researchers, time will be of the essence in that regard as well - so even though we know there will be some very necessary reboxing (especially with the Iron Mountain materials) and moving around, we're going to have to try to make it snappy.

As much as we are looking forward to having our new offices (with windows! well, technically the windows will be above eye level, but they will be there all the same) it's clear we won't be spending much time in them for the first few weeks/months/longer.

But there will be a certain satisfaction when we can input meaningful information in the Archivists' Toolkit 'location' tab - the idea that in the near future we can simply look up a collection or box and know exactly where it is (rather than referring to several spreadsheets and a reasonably useful mental map) makes the move worth the hassle.


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