The Central Library closed at 9 PM, Wednesday, October 15.

We in the NC Room spent the next seven working days sorting and boxing thousands of books.

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We learned a lot:

1. Books are heavy, so we have a new respect for our library pages who spend much of their lives shelving heavy books…better than any gym workout. No wonder they all look so fit.

2. Books come in a bewildering array of sizes and shapes. There is no box made that fits any of those sizes.

3. So filling a box efficiently under a strict deadline is sort of like playing Tetris at the highest levels eight hours a day for seven straight days, except not as much fun. And instead of clicking a mouse, you are repeatedly lifting heavy books.

4. Don’t get stuck boxing college and high school yearbooks. The coated paper makes them even heavier than normal heavy books. Once the box is full, you will need a heavy equipment operator to move it.

5. Books are dust collectors. Old books are worse dust collectors. Really old books are mostly just dust. Achoo! Achoo! Achoo!

We had three sort levels:

Category 1. Books that will be in our new home in the Forsyth County Government Center and so immediately available to our patrons once we reopen…a few thousand.

Category 2. Books that will be available for one day service via our annex…fewer than we expected.

Category 3. Books that will not be accessible during the time the Central Library is closed…the remainder of the 37,000.

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This morning, the professional movers began their work. By the end of the day, most of the category 1 books were on the shelves at the Government Center. Our microfilm and vertical files were in place. Our computers and phones were installed at our new desks and working. Our digital microfilm readers were in the building, waiting for their tables. The new one will blow your mind.

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But we still have much work to do. The photography collection is working on fitting into its new closet. We have many really important really huge books…we would like to have them in the room, but where can we put them? And maps are a problem. Most of the important ones are already online, but some crucial ones, due to copyright restrictions, are not. Maps must lie flat, but we do not have room for a traditional map case. We are working on it.

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Stay tuned for updates…we will try to let you know when we will be reopening as soon as we can.

All pix by staff photographer K. Feeney

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