Monday, January 11, 2010

Count Down to the Soft Opening

Since the first of November, I have been working on opening the new La Crescenta Library. It has been an interesting and tiring adventure. The library is very nice and the public will enjoy it without a doubt. But there were some very frustrating moments in getting the library up. Some of the problems stem from the fact that we never have enough space for what we want. Also, since the library was literally carved out of the side of a mountain, the footprint is a bit awkward. About half of my adult fiction stacks were reallocated to additional parking spaces some where in the planning process. Since parking is important and people won't use the library if they can't reasonably get to it, I do not begrudge the decision--often. Since the library is 3x the size it used to be, I doubt that anyone will really notice. Then I ended up with a massive amount of audio visual shelving that had to be converted to regular shelving, I am still changing shelves out and the soft opening is next week.
Why so many audio visual shelves? Well, the building plan called for a 30/30/30 mix of children, adult and audiovisual materials. A collection of this mix does not and I repeat DOES NOT translate into the same percentage mix of shelving. Children and AV items are slim and sleek, Adult materials are usually 3x or more the width of Children books and DVD cases. Hmmm... oops...
But hey, the glass is half full here, I look at it this way. If everything had gone along swimmingly smooth, I would have learned a lot but not nearly as much as I have. If I ever have the opportunity to be involved in another library opening, I will be more prepared.
I like my library and I think it will be a strong asset to the community. I think I will have a great staff and we will have the chance to try out new and innovative ideas. Also I will have the chance to reuse my bag of tricks and programs that I have built since becoming a library. Always love the chance to try old stuff on a new audience.
On Saturday, Jan 16. we will open the doors to the masses. This is our soft opening but since people have been chomping at the bit for the new library, I suspect we will have a flood of people and not a trickle. Our grand opening is at the end of the month.