Byline: Lauretta Godbee
Anyone who has ever moved house must feel sympathy for the 14 members of staff of the Clarence Regional Library Headquarters and Grafton City Library, as they confront the prospect of relocating to the city's planned new Library Complex.
It's a move that's still a good way off Co plans are for the new library building to come on line by early 2014 Co and that's probably just as well.
Moving tens of thousands of books, plus computers, plus collections, plus all the other things that go to make up a modern library service, is a process that will take some serious preparation.
Detailed plans for the new library complex, to be built on and over the Pound/King St car park are yet to be completed.
Concept drawings were released along with an undertaking that the Federal Government would fund the $8 million project, promised in the run-up to the last Federal election.
Acting Co-ordinator for Clarence Valley Council libraries Katrina Shillam, and Clarence Regional Librarian Kathryn Breward already have a fair idea of the facilities their new dream complex will incorporate.
C[pounds sterling]Space,C[yen] enthuses Katrina Shillam.
Space, safely flood-free, for more public access computer links and laptop facilities, for study rooms where students and researchers can work independently or in groups, for better display and improved access to most sought-after library sections, such as local history or biography. Space even for public toilets, a facility inconveniently lacking in the present city library.
Parking space, too, for library users. Loss of parking spaces in the existing car park will be minimal, with the new library building largely going up and over, providing an added bonus in new undercover parking for the city.
Acting coordinator for valley services since late last year, Ms Shillam came to Grafton Library from the ACT in 2007, long before plans for the new library complex took wing.
C[pounds sterling]I have never been involved in building a new library or moving a whole library before,C[yen] she says.
Undaunted, she nevertheless has a good idea of possible difficulties ahead: C[pounds sterling]We have 40,000 books in the city library building alone and we are constantly moving things around.C[yen]
Recarpeting the library building a couple of years ago meant removing and replacing every book on the shelves, with the library closed for a week while the work went ahead, section by section.
Preliminary estimates suggest relocation of the regional and city facilities to the new library complex could take combined staff a very busy fortnight, even with the assistance of professional library removalists.
Regional Librarian Kathryn Breward who has had the experience of moving a 12,000 book school library knows C[pounds sterling]what is required and the importance of taking the right measuresC*or things can get very chaotic very quickly.C[yen]
Demographic studies suggest that the average public library user is a female over 50, but whoever compiled those studies might be surprised by the diversity of users passing up and down the steps of libraries in the Clarence Valley.
Public access computers Co there are six in Grafton City library now, and more planned for the new library- are consistently busy, users ranging from school students to visiting tourists, to external students of many ages completing TAFE and University assignments.
Programs aimed at children as young as toddlers and their carers are held regularly at the various branch libraries.
These include the Baby Bounce program, pioneered at Iluka library and successfully introduced at Grafton last September. Toddlers 0 to two years attend with their carers to listen to appropriate stories read by a library staffer.
The sessions introduce the littlies to the world of books and equally provide a learning curve for parents, encouraging them to read to a younger age group of children. …