After three long months with no library building and only a handful of books, the temporary library demountable is just about ready.

The firefighters did an amazing job and halted the fire at the library workroom, however despite their best efforts, the collection suffered an incredible amount of damage.

Three weeks after the fire, access was granted for restoration company staff to pack the library. They packed everything, no matter the damage, although the items in the workroom were determined to be beyond salvage. The books then spent three months in decontamination to remove the smoke stench and to halt any mould growth.

Many boxes contained stickers with a warning that the contents could not be salvaged – unless those boxes contained items of archival value to the school they went straight to the bin.

But even with those helpful warning stickers, unpacking has been a challenge.  The restoration company used three distinct packers – each with his (or her) own unique packing identification system.

Packer #1 was very helpful and marked boxes with information like ‘P Authors’ and although there was no indication if said ‘P’ authors were from picture books, junior or senior fiction it was still a helpful guide.

Packer #2 used a system entirely of his own.  Boxes were marked with very specific locations, such as “Shelf 3, Bay 4”.  Unfortunately there was no key that matched these instructions, and I had no idea exactly where in the library it was that he had started from, nor did I have any indication of which directions he had taken from that point.  I couldn’t even try hazard a guess seeing as they had packed a mixture of both fiction and non fiction books.

Packer #3, bless his cotton socks, tried very very hard. Each and every box that he packed was marked ‘library books’.

Library October 2012

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