There goes the Reading Room…

Packing out begins.
Packing out begins.
We’ve been busy this week, but not as busy as US Art. They are tasked with packing the entire contents of the Reading Room and into storage so that reconstruction work can begin next week. These processes always take longer than you expect, and in this case, while we have estimated the total number of books in Reading Room more than once, 18,000 books is a lot of books to keep in order.
And that’s just what they’re doing: every shelf in every section of every range must be kept in order so that the books can go back just the way they were. That’s the magic (or utility) of call numbers, shelf numbers and range numbers, but in the end, all this tracking and packing takes time.
Partially emptied card catalog. The entire set will be leaving.
There are more images in the online gallery, but I think the saddest one of call might be the card catalog partially emptied. We have shelf lists and NETOP, but all of us here at the RIHS remain fond– and reliant– on our trusty paper card catalogs.
We still don’t know how long the reconstruction will take; the experts tell us that they won’t know until they begin and get a full sense of how much damage the floor suffered. What we do know is that the reconstruction process will merge into our planned renovation project. That means we will be closed through the summer, much to our regret.
When we reopen, you can expect a vastly improved Reading Room and HVAC system, and all the books back in place, packed, tracked, and reshelved with care.

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