All this week volunteers and staff at the Pitkin County Library have been boxing up books and hauling them to a new location. For the next several months, the library will operate out of the former Aspen Art Museum, or old power house. The move allows construction on the library building. Aspen Public Radio's Marci Krivonen caught up with head librarian Kathy Chandler mid-move.
Chandler: "We’re moving from about 30,000 square feet to 7000 square feet," she says. " So, we’re trying to pick out the things that we think will be the most heavily used over the summer. It will be the children’s library, a new collection for the teens and a lot of the non-print for the adults."
Reporter: "The new location will be the library’s home until January, right?"
Chandler: "That’s correct - until the end of January, at which time we’ll hope to move back into the library building when construction is complete."
Construction crews are already building a new children’s library on the east side of the building. The project adds an additional 7000 square feet of space, including a mezzanine for the fiction collection, an outdoor reading deck, even a cafe.
Reporter: "It’s going to look different."
Chandler: "It’ll definitely look very different. One of the big things we’re really looking forward to is the shelves will be a lot lower and more spread out, so that people in wheelchairs will have access to the collections."
Right now, Chandler and her staff are moving not only the books, but the shelves too. It’s not an easy task. If you stack all the books cover-to-cover, there’s well over a mile’s worth of materials in the library. One-third of that will go the old power house and the rest will go to storage.
"What we have to do is take the books off the shelves, take the shelves apart, move the shelves down the road, put shelves back together, move the books back in and put them back on the stacks," says Chandler.
A team of professional movers are helping. The library will reopen Friday in its new space at 11 am.