Thursday, April 08, 2010

On the Move

On January 28, 2010 the University of Georgia held a groundbreaking ceremony for the new Special Collections Libraries Building. We came, we saw, we shoveled! And we took a few pictures to commemorate the event (more on our other blog post HERE).

We’re getting a new building and we are all overjoyed! The Special Collections Building is a project that has been more than a decade in the making for the UGA Libraries. The new facility will house the Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, the Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, and the Walter J. Brown Media Archives and Peabody Awards Collection. Currently, all these entities (and accompanying faculty and staff persons) are housed in the Main Library on North campus. Although our current space is much loved and has been good to us over many years, it does not provide for the space and climate needs of our collections. The move to the new building will free up nearly 50,000 square feet inside the Main Library – making more room for general collections as well as increased study space for students. The new building – approximately 115,000 square feet – will be located on Hull Street; a view of ongoing construction can be found by clicking HERE. It will include customized climate control, increased gallery space for exhibits, classroom spaces to integrate materials into instruction, spaces for special events, and – best of all – enough room for nearly 40 years of collection growth. Estimates project that the building will be completed between 18 and 22 months from the time of the groundbreaking, so keep your fingers crossed.

Now you have the basic facts. What we’d like to do here on the Russell Library blog is give you – our readers – some more insight into the backbreaking, mind bending work that will go into moving our collections into this new space. Have you ever moved into a house, taken years to settle in, accumulated lots of new stuff and found just the right place for all of your possessions? Only to move again for greener pastures? Right, well the Russell Library has been in its current location – in the lower level of the Main Library building – since it opened, in 1974. We have grown tremendously in that time and, like a fish that grows to the size of its bowl, we are now too big for our current digs. Over the next year we will ready our nearly 300 collections comprised of manuscripts, three dimensional objects, oversized framed objects, maps, audiovisual materials photographs, books, scrapbooks, and office materials (roughly 13,000 linear feet of material) for the journey to their new home. Because of the types of materials we have, this process is more challenging than your typical move – hiring big, strong men to pack and lift boxes. It involves a full assessment of all we have and careful plotting as to how to transport and store these items in a new climate controlled space with limited staff access.

Week to week, as we go through the motions of our preparation for the move we will update the blog with progress reports, vents of frustration, insights into the process – a backstage pass to the roadshow that is moving an archives. Hopefully, in the end we’ll have a great record of this move project AND can give everyone a better idea about what we have and what we do here at Russell Library.

Let’s start small. I quoted above that we have around 13,000 linear feet of material – so what is a linear foot? The picture below shows a standard document archival storage box, the kind which houses many of our documents.

This box = 1/2 linear foot. So, one linear foot equals: 2 of these boxes. In documents alone, we will have over 20,000 boxes to lug to Hull Street. This estimate does not include the audiovisual materials, books, loose materials and artifacts that must also be transported. What is the best way for all of these items to make the move? Tune in for our next post and we’ll try to make some headway!

Here we have 10.5 linear feet...

More linear you're getting the picture

Post by Jan Levinson, Assistant Outreach Archivist, Russell Library

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