The staff of DPL is glad to be back open to the public and is settling comfortably back in at home! We hope you enjoyed the recent open house activities. Three months was a long time to be away.
Did you miss us while we were gone?
No, the staff wasn’t out of work (thank goodness) while the library was closed December-February. Neither were we on extended holiday (although that would have been nice)!
After closing to the public, but before renovation and repair work could actually start at the library, there was a lot of frenzied packing and storage. All the computers had to be taken down, boxed up and stored off site. Staff had to decide what they needed to have and take to work productively outside our usual environment. The furniture had to be moved. Some of the books and materials had to be taken off the shelves and packed away. The rest of the stacks had to be wrapped and sealed with shrink wrap, to keep the debris and dust of construction off the books.
Once all the prep work was accomplished, we continued hard at work behind the scenes and in various locations. The Circulation staff was relocated to the Community Room, next to JC Penney, in the Decatur Mall. This temporary mall branch was open with a small circulating collection of books, audio, and DVDs. The Children’s librarians also actively continued doing their programming. Reference, Technical Services, and Administration took up residence in a house on Ferry Street and worked from there. Catalogers continued to process library materials. Reference answered some patron questions via phone and email, caught up on department projects such as grant writing, plans and initial registration start up of the Read the World Adult Reading Challenge, as well as organizing and scanning historical papers and a photo collection. Maintenance was still present, working with and overseeing the renovation work, in the library building, and all staff rotated taking shifts of door watch security duty at Cherry Street .
And, of course, once the repairs were finished, the new carpet installed, and the floors waxed, it was also a multi-day chore to fine clean the library and get everything moved back and into place!
Working at the house on Ferry Street was very different from the normalcy of being at the library; this was both good and bad for staff.On the plus side, there was an increased sense of staff camaraderie, all being together in close quarters, and it was easy to communicate with everyone.
We took advantage of the opportunity to catch up on some projects that were previously more difficult to find the time for while also providing patron customer service.
The change of scenery was nice, the house’s retro kitchen design was very cool (and the coffee was ALWAYS on!)Oh, and there was “Cat TV” to keep us amused. This was via a small window in the reference room; at eye level with the roof of an outside shed, where the neighborhood kitties liked to frolic. They’d peek in at us; we’d peek out at them.
Yes, we missed our patrons, but it was a perk as well to have a break from working evening or weekend hours for a while.But it wasn’t all roses at Ferry Street. The traffic noise from Highway 20 was loud and annoying. Additionally, there was all the inside noise of us hens clucking away. The house wasn’t cramped, but it was cozy. It was harder to concentrate and there was a lack of privacy. Also, you try having that many women in one house with only one working bathroom to share! We tried to make do, but it was inconvenient not having all our books and supplies easily at hand. We regretted not being able to serve our patrons as well and fully as we’d like, but again we did what we could. We also missed the sense of community, lacking social interaction with our patrons.
Meanwhile Out at the Mall:
The Circulation mall staff was very pleased to be able to provide continued (if reduced) service to the public.
In addition to the library materials available, they also were able to keep up with library card registration and updates.
It was a nice benefit that the library was able to give extended due dates (with no accumulating fine) during the closure!Other enjoyable aspects of Mall life were the change of pace and place for the staff, and the added perk of having the food court and Mall shopping during lunch hour!
Among the frustrations were the limited selection for checkout, and the inability to provide any computer access, as well as the lack of space and usual Circulation equipment.We were also bothered by the lack of Tax Forms, but (Really!) the IRS and State government were extremely slow in printing and delivering forms for distribution
Behind the Green Door:
The Friends of the Library Book Sale room got the same pack up, storage, shrink-wrap and protect treatment, as the rest of the book stacks in the library. Thank you to the Friends’ volunteers who did the bulk of the work needed in the Sale Room, both before and after renovation.
With the room closed, donations were discouraged during the closure, but there was LOTS of wonderful stuff arriving soon after opening for the Friends to get processed and out for sale as soon as it was possible.
There’s NO Place Like Home:
The entire staff of Decatur Public Library hopes our patrons are pleased with the improvements to the library. We thank you for bearing with all the annoyances and stress accompanying the unavoidable length of time the library was closed. As well, we deeply appreciate your returning to us once the doors were open. We are so glad to see you!