University of Alberta Library is celebrating the new Geoffrey & Robyn Sperber Health Sciences Library, which is anticipated to open in Fall 2023. This post is part of a series that will showcase the Sperber Library over the next several months.
This post was written by Connie Winther, Head, Faculty Engagement (Health Sciences)
Most people have moved houses or apartments. This requires a lot of boxes, a truck or two, a moving company, or a few strong friends. Ideally preparation happens over a period of time, and there is some time to move (hopefully not a move out by month end, and move in on the 1st of the month). Moving a library with seating for over 600 people, with thousands of books and journals, and a variety of other stuff (like treadmill desks, staff offices, a huge storage room full of microfiche, and the typical holiday decorations) requires many more steps, time, planning and people than your typical household move. We have had many questions about the move, and what will happen with all the “stuff” and this blog post provides answers to some of those questions!
Book trucks and many, many lists
While physical books remain important in the health sciences, the majority of information requests we receive from Health Sciences faculties are fulfilled through our e-collections. The decreased demand for on-site print books, and the smaller footprint of the new library means that we will be moving only a small portion of the physical book collection with us. Much of this work has already been completed and the books currently on the shelves at the Scott library are those that will be moving over to ECHA to the new Geoffrey & Robyn Sperber Health Sciences Library. But fear not, the other books and materials have been moved to the Research & Collections Resource Facility (RCRF) and can still be requested by placing a hold and picked up at any UAlberta or NEOS library.
Moving the books required a lot of background work including the creation of a multitude of lists. There were lists of books with usage information to inform decisions about what would stay on site, and what would be moved to RCRF. List of books that were found to be missing, and lists of books that were found despite no record of them. List of books to be pulled and placed on book trucks and shipped to RCRF and ingested there. There were also lists of books to be brought from other UAL libraries to become a part of the new Indigenous healing collection, and lists of books to purchase for that same collection (more on the Indigenous healing collection in another blog post).
And from each of those lists, there were specific activities that needed to happen by an amazing group of people from across the library. When you move houses, you will likely need more boxes than you thought to move all of your books. To move physical items, we use book trucks which allows for easier moving of the materials. To move the physical books designated for RCRF, there were a total of 361 of these book trucks, tightly wrapped for safe transport. This includes 350 trucks for general books, 7 trucks from the Traditional medicine collection, 7 book trucks of Folio, and 1 book truck of found materials (bonus!). 71,214 books were to be sent to the RCRF. Of those books, 2.5% were not located. In addition to the 361 trucks of books, there were over 20,700 print journal volumes that moved from the Scott library to RCRF in 2022. 1.5% of the journals were not located. The remainder of the books will be moved to the new library when the space is ready.
We recently had an event to celebrate the Scott library, and we asked people what they liked best about the Scott library. Some of the comments included “the treadmill desks” and “the bar seating by the window”. The good news is that the two treadmill desks from the Scott library are moving with us! And the other good news is that those bar stools are moving to the 3rd floor of Cameron library, to a location where you can look out over the old Arts building. This fall keep your eye out to see if you can locate some of the Scott furniture being relocated to other sites (hint – look for carrels, tables and shared computer tables with glass dividers)
This is only one part of all the work in moving a library, but provides answers to some of the questions we get asked. There is much more work to be done in moving the library and we are fortunate to have the expertise of our Space Planning & Management Team in the Library, and the great people at Facilities & Operations to complete the move.
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