Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Preparing for Rennovation

I work at the University of Nebraska at Omaha's Criss Library. We have recently completed an addition to the building and are getting ready to start renovating the old portion of the library. The library was built in 1976, and when I started college in 1978 I though it was a wonderful building, it was so new and modern. That feeling of new and modern had definitely worn off by the time I started working here in 1989. Among other things the 1970's colors were no longer new and trendy and much of the staff seemed ready for a change to conservative and classic. The architectural style of the building is called Brutalism, and I feel that people should not be made to work or live in anything described as brutal. Some staff members have described it as looking like a parking garage.

Several drawings and plans were made up in anticipation of remodeling, three that I know of. Two deans later there is funding and we are anticipating groundbreaking for the project. Literally groundbreaking. The entire slab of the basement floor will be ripped up, a process starting sometime in mid May to late June. Everyone who works on the basement floor will be relocated, as will the collections housed on the first/basement floor. The bound periodicals will be shipped off-site, we don't know where yet. I really wish to know where as I am all that is left of the serials office and even though it is not my collection, I do feel rather protective of it. The Government Documents are already on their way to their temporary lodgings on the third floor. Archives is also supposed to go to the third floor.

The staff members and Faculty from first floor will be spread out between the second and third floors. We are all supposed to be cleaning out our offices. Taking home the personal knick-knacks that came to roost and multiply on our desks, and cleaning out old files. Almost everyone involved in this move will be working from smaller offices or cubicles. Despite the fact that our work space will be reduced, and our work lives made temporarily more complicated, there is a feeling of anticipation in the air. I am actually ready to move to a workspace about a third of the size I use now. I am ready to try to fit everything in, arrange it all, and throw away more things; because, no matter how hard one tries, one never gets rid of everything before they move. Everyone at the meeting seemed almost excited. We had been joking about being moved to the cupboard under the stairs, like Harry Potter's cupboard in the first book. We joked about spiders and hoped there would not be snakes as well. Our temporary digs will be much nicer than that infamous cupboard, no matter how cramped, and we will adapt to the confusion and mess. And I am sure we will also complain about the noise and dust, we will bemoan our temporary loss of parking spaces, and no matter how quiet the workers try to be, it will be noisy. But then most Libraries are no longer the quiet refuges they once were.

1 comment:

lori said...

Cool! Getting into the thick of things is always an adventure. When it comes time to discuss office decor, I recommend this site:

May the force be with you.