Books go for a ride in BPC library's renovation

By Terry Gaston
BPC Public Relations

MOUNT VERNON -- For two weeks at least, the prevailing factor in the Fountain-New Library at Brewton-Parker College is noise - albeit good noise, a sign of progress.

During the interim between the spring and summer semesters, the library is undergoing renovations that include replacing the library's original carpet in the reading room and all offices.

However, library director Ann Turner and her staff were spared the chore of having to move about 80,000 books in such a short time window.

The six-man crew from DuPont Flooring Systems in Atlanta that installed the carpet was trained to used a hydraulic lift system, brought in from Dallas, that lifts and moves the shelves without having to remove the books.

The lifts can transport shelves ranging from 6 to 30 feet long, and each 30-foot section may hold an average of 3,000 to 3,500 books.

Chains and bars link the lifts together through the bookshelves, and the crew members raised the shelves just enough off the carpet to roll them to their temporary location elsewhere in the reading room while carpet is laid in that area.

"They work together really well," Turner said of the crew, which realigned the shelves to allow for additional shelving that Turner expects to arrive in June.

As part of the library's strategic plan, Turner hopes to expand the reading room's capacity to 100,000 volumes by 2008.

"The impetus of the project was knowing we had to find a place for 20,000 additional books," Turner said, adding that the new shelves will be added to those relocated and books will be shifted off some of the older shelving. "We will be able to almost double the capacity."

In her e-mail informing faculty and staff that the library would be closed for two weeks, Turner encouraged faculty and staff to stop in and take a look at the activities but with one caveat: "If you get too close, we WILL put you to work!"

For those faculty and staff who have departed campus during the between-semester break, reference librarian Barry Bull and Shannon Bull, Turner's assistant, are documenting the renovation activities on digital photos and video.

A computer-generated presentation of the events is planned for the fall-semester faculty workshop in August, and a photo display in the library is planned for the beginning of the fall term.

The library reopens - and, for the time being, the quiet returns - Monday, May 26, for the start of the summer semester.

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Crew members from DuPont Flooring Systems in Atlanta use a hydraulic lift to move a 30-foot bookshelf in the Fountain-New Library at Brewton-Parker College in Mount Vernon on May 13 in preparation for laying new carpet as part of a renovation project that will expand the library's volume capacity from 80,000 books to 100,000. (BPC Photo by Terry Gaston)