A 100-year-old library burns down and nothing remains (which seems to have eluded many people volunteering to help restock the shelves: we have no shelves — we don’t even have a roof! — so where are we supposed to put the new books?). The “to do” list is immediately overwhelming:
- Find out what the replacement value on all the resources is. Easier asked than done, since many items purchased pre-1998 (when we automated) don’t have prices included in their MARC record; anything purchased pre-2004 might have changed price as well. Then there are the videos, some of which cannot be repurchased (the video equivalent of “out of print”). The majority of the firms that deal with disaster recovery don’t have information about how to value the collection, but if you’re dealing with water damage please use their services! We may end up taking aggregate values.
- Figure out what to order immediately so that you have something in September. We did just build a new LS facility, so we do have some place to store new books but we really don’t want the older kids wandering over (and the space can’t handle two classes at once). The bigger problem is the 5-12 collection, and where we end up putting it. Since money isn’t a huge object (right now), I could easily purchase 8,000 books in the next month or two (let’s not think about the fun of processing that many books!) but… is there a space large enough for that? There are two or three on campus, but two may have structural issues (weight of books) and the other is heavily scheduled and can’t be taken over for the next two-three years as we rebuild.
- Start thinking about what it means to be a school library in the 21st century. MPOW is a “traditional” school, and there’s some resistance to overreliance on technology (I know Chris’ attitude on that!). However, now we have the opportunity to push databases, IM reference, and other “cool tools”. We also have the opportunity to reflect on our practice, using some of the things I’ve learned from Maureen Sullivan and Joan Williams. That’ll be the most interesting process and I’m hoping we can get an outsider to help facilitate…
Obviously, there’s much more than that going on, like meeting with the architects and establishing a unified response to donations (coordination between administration, development and the library). I’m hoping our Gift Policy will be upheld – but then there are all those incredibly well-intentioned, totally misguided Helpful Hannah’s. More on that later.