The Great Carrier Library Move: How We Did It!

Posted on: December 6, 2023

Here’s a riddle: How do you move 100+ staff offices, over 3,000 furniture and technology items, and a whopping 400,000 books out of a busy JMU building without disrupting the students studying there? This was the enormous task we undertook in preparation for the long-awaited renovation and expansion of Carrier Library. The answer? Develop a clear plan, engage a strong team, and activate a fantastic network of partners!

Our massive move out of Carrier began in Fall 2022 after final exams. During Spring 2023, we moved staff offices, furniture, artwork, technology, and books (including the rare, fragile, and valuable Special Collections) in over fifteen sequenced phases designed to minimize disruption. JMU Moving & Delivery and professional book movers did the heavy lifting (literally!), with help from Libraries staff. Together, we finished emptying Carrier soon after Commencement, allowing construction to start on time. That’s not all: we also set up an entirely new library location to serve JMU and the local community while Carrier is under construction! JMU Libraries Express will provide library services and study space until Carrier Library reopens.

By thoughtfully redistributing Carrier’s existing furniture, equipment and technology to other campus buildings, we achieved an estimated cost avoidance of $1,095,000 for the university. Kelly Miller-Martin, the Libraries’ Director of Facilities Operations, and her stellar team inventoried everything in Carrier and analyzed how it could best be used by others on campus. She explained, “We furnished most interim Libraries spaces with items from Carrier. We repurposed Carrier’s shelving to store our books and collections in our interim storage location. Knowing students still need study spaces while Carrier is under construction, we prioritized furniture redistribution to campus departments that could enhance or increase study space seating.”

With Carrier’s furniture, JMU was able to create multiple new study spaces and enhance or expand others. We even helped create a JMU Study Spaces Map to support students looking for new study spots!

With this move, we successfully kick-started the transformation of Carrier Library into the intellectual and physical crossroads that will befit JMU’s status as a national university. We’re proud of our hard work to prepare the building for this new chapter in a thoughtful and cost-effective way, knowing that generations of Dukes and the local community will benefit for many years to come.

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