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Volume 9 Issue 1 Fall 2008(1)

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Library Move Spurs Creativity

by Robert Barrett

Sometimes creative things happen when you move every book in your library.  Following last summer's move, Carrier Library student assistants recycled left-over moving labels to craft distinct pieces of art that eventually went on display in the Carrier Library lobby, along with information on the collection move and the library’s enhanced delivery service.

Delivery Service: JMU Libraries now offers delivery of materials for students from one library location to another that’s more convenient.  Deliveries are made twice a day, Monday through Friday, to and from the Carrier Library, Music Library, East Campus Library, and the Educational Technology Media Center in Memorial Hall.  No deliveries on weekends or when the University is closed.  JMU Faculty and grad students with a department mailbox can request materials delivered to their offices.  Faculty, Staff, and Students may request copies of journal articles and book chapters from any print or microform title held by JMU Libraries.  Articles will be delivered electronically whenever possible.  Most deliveries are processed within 24-48 hours.

The Big Move: As part of the process of opening the East Campus Library this past summer, library books, periodicals and media related to science and technology were relocated from Carrier Library to the new building.  The move opened up shelf space in Carrier Library and allowed for a huge shift of the book and periodical collection within that building.  In fact, every book in both Carrier and ECL was moved. To help accomplish this move, JMU enlisted the help of Hallett Movers, an independent moving company from the Chicago area.

Circulation students
Circulation student artists, left to right: Clea Will, Ashley Neal, Anasa King and John Juraschka.

How does a company move virtually every book and periodical in an enormous collection, and still manage to keep everything in order? Hallett has a unique and highly organized procedure for carrying out a relocation of this magnitude. Using a labeling system with colored and numbered stickers. Workers went through our collection and placed colored, numbered stickers on books that were a predetermined distance apart (shelf length minus allotted space for growth). Then they placed corresponding matching stickers on shelves where the labeled books would eventually be located. The labeled books, then, were to become the left-most books on the corresponding labeled shelves in another location. Of course, the unlabeled books that followed the labeled books would also go on the corresponding shelf.

Hallett streamlined the moving process by assigning a unique sticker color to the different areas of the building. For instance, books labeled in orange were to be moved to a certain wing of the second floor. This technique allowed the company to work accurately in different areas of the building simultaneously.

After the move was finished, each shelf had two colored, numbered stickers—one on the first book in the row, and one on the actual shelf. The task of removing all of the stickers fell upon our dedicated student employees. It wasn’t long before their creative and artistic abilities took flight.

Sticker label artwork
The inspiration for this two-piece tour de force came from King’s morose, yet realistic belief that the world is not perfect. In fact, to quote the artist directly, “The world is not perfect.” In art, the sphere has become almost cliché, trite. Yet with /Snow Globe/, King, always fascinated by dichotomies, combines the imperfection of humanity (its bitter coldness) with the ideal world (a perfect sphere, grounded on a base and elevated by its own pedestal). Once again, she has cleverly superimposed two opposing forces: in this case, optimism and pessimism.

Student Anasa King presented the inaugural piece, a three-inch tall dome-shaped paperweight crafted from purple stickers, as a gift to her supervisor.  Circulation department staff encouraged other students to turn their recycled stickers into art.  Soon, King and three other students brought a total of ten distinctive modern art pieces to circulation.  Staff member Robert Barrett wrote humorous descriptions of the pieces, thus spawning the sticker exhibit.

King was the most prolific artist; her works comprise exactly half of the collection. John Juraschka contributed the second piece to the collection—another paperweight, but this one in bright orange. Ashley Neal created one work in four nearly identical parts. Finally, Clea Will created two pieces in lime green, each of them miniatures. Even a staff member, Liz Garner, tried her hand at modern art with the largest work in the collection, Nietzsche’s Eternal Recurrence.

Initially, Carrier Circulation staff put the artwork and their descriptions on display behind their desk, for other students and staff to see. Later, the collection was on temporary exhibit in Carrier Library’s lobby, and has found a current home in the exhibit case outside Special Collections next to Room 206 Carrier Library.

Reba Leiding and Johlene Hess, Editors

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