Magazine article Multimedia & Internet@Schools

Moving a Boatload

Magazine article Multimedia & Internet@Schools

Moving a Boatload

Article excerpt

"YOU folks have a boatload to handle." Having survived one of two media center moves our district is making this year (this is my third experience with moving a media center), it's time to share a few thoughts about what worked and what didn't.

Preparing for the move and actually moving require you to assume the role of moving manager while you are still managing a media program. It's a time to apply the superb organizational, managerial, and communications skills that media specialists have and to answer the following questions:

* What are the timelines for each step? When should I start? What can be done now, what can be done soon, and what must wait till the very end?

* Who can help me? What skills do they need?

* What is absolutely essential to have in place when I open the doors to the new media center? What parts of the collection can be packed early? What must remain until the very end?

* Should the old media center remain open while we pack? Should the new media center open while we are moving in?

* Who's in charge? Who needs to know what? Who can answer my questions? Who will I answer to?


Start communicating and asking questions. Develop an overall time frame and a big picture of what will be done when. Who's in charge of each part of the move? Who's in charge overall? Find out early because it will save frustration later. Plan with others, and share your plans with the appropriate people so they understand what you are doing and why. Share timelines, plans, and progress often because everyone involved is busy. Expect-and insist-that others share with you. Once the overall plan and timelines are in place, you can begin to plan the details.

Who should help? All media staff should be involved in the process; they have a stake in how things turn out. District maintenance staff will provide valuable assistance and ideas. Volunteers, parents, and students who help you will not only provide help, but they will also help spread the word and generate enthusiasm. Involve teachers who are interested and can spare the time. You need people who are physically strong and people who are good at organizing and providing direction. You also need people to pick up the mess or throw away empty boxes. There really is enough work to be done to involve many types of workers.

When should I start packing? January is a good time to begin packing for a summer move. Begin with nonessentials and resources students and staff won't be using for the remainder of the year. If you pack gradually, you won't have to totally disrupt media program operations.

Should I close the media center to pack? Arguably, moving and packing is a time to justify closing a media center, especially if you need to vacate the old facility before the end of the school year or if the current facility is being remodeled. You may even have to move essential resources to temporary quarters and operate out of a makeshift media center. Whatever the situation, think carefully about the ramifications of not having the media center open even for just a short time. Don't assume classroom teachers understand the amount of work involved in moving a media center. If it is essential to close temporarily, administrative support is of top importance; communications about closures or limited access should come from administrators. Make your decision carefully because not everyone has your perspective of moving a boatload.

Weeding and de-junking. Weed and get rid of unnecessary resources before you pack and while you pack. You won't regret downsizing; you will regret shelving books or storing equipment that shouldn't have been moved in the first place. And it's not just books. Get rid of equipment, supplies, décor, and all those odds and ends (such as cables, cords, bulbs, and book processing supplies) that you no longer use but haven't had time to deal with. It's easier now than once you get settled. …

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