Wednesday, April 11, 2018

A Fight to the Finish and What's In a Name?

Stacks of Boxes Sitting In the Library
Stacks of Boxes Waiting to Opened
At long last, we are nearing the end of our refresh project. Staff have been busily working in the building for the past month and a half to make sure everything is ready for our reopening. In early March, almost 900 boxes of books and media were returned to the library from the storage facility. Every item in every box had to be reshelved and inventoried. In addition, another 300 other boxes of office supplies, files, and other ephemera had to be unpacked. Branch staff is spending these last few days feverishly trying to complete the inventory while others are busy installing or activating computers, phones, and data lines.

Pile of Empty Boxes Awaiting Recycling
Empty Boxes Awaiting Recycling
Beyond that, a lot else has transpired since our last post. We now have beautiful new flooring. This includes eye-catching black carpeting with color highlights in the public areas of the library, including the front hallway and new tiled flooring in  the meeting room. Two new collaboration spaces have been added to the southeast corner of the building. New furniture arrived for several spaces around the library. New electronic blinds have been installed in the collaboration rooms, quiet study room, and in the children's area. Our new service desks are in place and ready for customers.

Tables and Chairs in the New Glassed-In Collaboration Spaces
New Collaboration Spaces
What's inside the building is not all that's new. Our library is also getting a new name. We are pleased to announce that the grand reopening and renaming ceremony for Connie Morella Library will be on Saturday, April 14 at 10 am.  In addition to the ceremony, we have lots of special events planned all day long. We hope to see you here!

Please note that there will be no on site parking on the morning of the ceremony. Please plan to park at Garage 49 if you arrive at the library before noon on Saturday. Directions and additional information can be found on the branch page.

New Kids Sign on the Wall and New Furniture In Front.
New Kids Sign and Furniture
Nancy Benner
Branch Manager

Friday, January 12, 2018

Of Color, Carpeting, and Commodes

Things are humming along here at Bethesda Library.

New ADA Spaces
New ADA Spaces in Parking Lot
Outside, the ADA upgrades to the parking lot and front sidewalk area have been completed. New ADA spaces have been installed in the front center of the parking lot. In addition, the grade of the entrance from Arlington Road has been lowered and railings have been installed along the sidewalk near the flagpole.

Roof replacement remains in progress. The roofers are working their way from the back of the building to the front. The windows above each of the six shelving bays have all been replaced and more activity is to come.

New Circuation Area Walls with Dark Blue Wall
New Circulation Area Walls
Inside, there's new paint, new flooring, and the beginnings of new collaboration spaces and the new circulation desk. Crews have installed new rubber flooring in the staff workroom and new carpeting in the branch supervisors' offices. The wall behind the future circulation desk now sports a coat of dark blue paint. Speaking of the new desk, the new wall that will stand in front of it is now being built, along with two shorter walls in front of the workroom entrances.  

New Dark Blue and White Wall Tiling in the Women's Restroom
New Tiling in the Women's Restroom
Bright yellows, oranges, and whites now adorn the walls around the children's area. In the rear of the library, framing has begun for the new collaboration spaces.

The public restrooms are also coming along.  New white and blue tiling has been installed in each. Some of the fixtures for the restrooms were delivered as this post was being written and will hopefully be installed soon.

Lastly, crews have begun removing many of our light fixtures so that something more illuminating can be installed.

Nancy Benner, Bethesda Library Manager

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Slow and Steady Wins the Race

                                                     Things have started to pick-up here at Bethesda.  
Front sidewalk under construction.
Front Sidewalk Under Construction
About two weeks ago, the roofing company began putting materials in place so that work on our new roof could begin. We can soon expect a dry library when it rains or snows! This week, work commenced on the sidewalk and parking lot areas right in front of the building, which will improve accessibility to the library. These areas are being excavated and recontoured so that the curb will be lower. The ramps from the parking lot to the sidewalk will be improved and the ADA parking spaces will be relocated from along Arlington Road to the front center of the lot.

Workroom countertops have been removed.
Workroom Countertops Have Been Removed
New circulation desk layout and wiring prep.
New Circulation Desk Layout and Wiring Prep
New information desk layout.
New Information Desk Layout

Inside the building, some electrical work was done in the ceiling above the lobby area. The locations of the new public service desks were marked on the floor. Large, very loud machines with saw blades have been cutting into the floor to ready the area for wiring and desk installation. Many of the walls in the children's area have received patchwork so that they can be repainted soon. Sanding has also begun on the wooden board book bench under the windows in the children's area as part of the process of refinishing it. Also, demolition was begun in our staff workroom.  The old countertop workspaces have been removed and new ones will soon arrive.

Boxed books waiting to be sent to storage.
Boxed Books Waiting to be Sent to Storage
Regular library work continues as well. Amazingly, we still continue to get returned library materials trickling in from the delivery truck along with deliveries of new materials. Our limited on-site staff is busy checking these items in and boxing them up so they can be stored until we reopen. Many of the new materials are also being sent out to fill holds requests systemwide. Limited copies of new MCExpress best sellers are being placed at the Pop-Up Library at the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center (Open every Wednesday from 11-2.) as space allows.

At last check, we still have a handful of holds for customers that have a pick-up location of Bethesda. Remember that if you are on a waiting list for items you put on hold before we closed and you haven't changed your pick-up location, please do so by logging into your account on our website or by calling or visiting one of other open branches.

Nancy Benner,
Bethesda Manager

Thursday, September 21, 2017

A Tale of Tubs, Boxes, Plastic Wrap, and Demolition

Tubs of checked in materials waitign to be delivered to Bethesda.
Tubs of Checked In Materials Waiting
to be Delivered to Bethesda.
The past three weeks have seen a variety of activity take place leading up to the beginning of actual construction. While most of our staff have spent the time acclimating to their new temporary branches, the management team, office clerk, and several library pages spent their time trying to check in and shelve as many of the returned or new library materials from our daily deliveries as they could before the shelves became inaccessible prior to the start of renovations. Many items had to be boxed because of space constraints or because the shelving in those areas was removed to prepare for construction. In those cases, staff needed to be able to get as many boxes filled and moved out of the building to storage as quickly as possible so that they wouldn't get in the way of construction work. In addition, staff processed dozens of holds and contacted customers about redirecting them to other branches. Nearly 150 tubs of returned items, new items, and holds were processed in these three weeks!

The shelves have been wrapped to keep materials from getting dusty during construction.
The Shelves Have Been Wrapped.
Carpeting being removed from the rear of the library.
Carpeting Being Removed From the Rear of the Library.
The library staff haven't been the only ones busy in the building. Just before Labor Day, crews removed carpeting and tiles from the staff area of the building. This past week, all of the shelving in the public area was wrapped in plastic to keep all materials dust-free during construction. As soon as that was finished, the contractors began removing carpeting, starting at the rear of the building. Work was also begun to complete the preparatory work necessary before the roof is completely replaced later on in the construction process.

Public Restroom Demolished.
The information desk has been removed.
The Information Desk Is Gone!
Sometimes, in order to construct new things, one must deconstruct the old ones. Such was the case in two key areas of the building, the public restrooms and the service desks. The restrooms are now just shells of their old selves and are nothing but studs and insulation. The information and circulation service desks have been demolished in preparation for the new desks that will include sit/stand workstations for staff.

The circulation desk has been removed.
The Circulation Desk Is Gone Too!
Stay tuned for our next exciting installment later this month! And, in the meantime, please make sure to change the pick-up location for any holds you may still have coming to Bethesda.  That will help avoid any further delays in getting a long-awaited copy of A Gentleman in MoscowGlass Houses, or whatever your next must-read title is, into your hands.

Nancy Benner,
Branch Manager

Monday, August 21, 2017

The Prep Work Begins.....

Carts of books waiting to be placed on empty shelves.
Carts of books waiting to be placed on empty shelves.
And we're off!  Bethesda Library closed its doors to the public on Sunday, August 6. However, that was just the beginning of the hard work for our staff. 

The first week was spent on a variety of projects to get the building ready for construction. The children's staff spent several days with our movers packing up picture books, beginner books, CD Books, DVDs, and some fiction books. All of these needed to be removed either in preparation for new shelving to be installed during construction or so that the walls in those areas could be painted. 

Staff also took time to label all of the furniture in the public areas of the building so that the movers would know what was to be kept and put in storage and what would be discarded and replaced. 

The other major project for the first week was shifting the bulk of the adult collection to make it flow better and make it easier for customers to navigate. We also had a visit from one of our friends on MCPL's Tech Management staff who came to begin disconnecting and packing up our public and service desk computers for safekeeping during the renovation.

Empty Picture Book Shelves
Empty Picture Book Shelves
Of course, regular library work continued throughout the week as well. Staff were kept very busy checking in library materials that were returned to our bookdrop or from other branches as well as continuing to process new items. We made hundreds of phone calls and sent dozens of emails asking customers to which other MCPL branch they wanted their holds sent.  (Important public service announcement: Please remember to change any holds you have designated for pick up at Bethesda to another location so you're not delayed in getting that book or DVD you've been waiting for!) 

Furniture lined up to be loaded onto the moving truck.
Furniture to be loaded on the moving truck.

Week two has been focused on clearing out furniture from the public areas, preparing the service desks (information, children's, and circulation) for removal or demolition, and packing up the workroom and staff office spaces. It was quite a sight to see all of the furniture lined up for loading onto the moving trucks. The library looks so empty without it!

Staff also continued checking in returned materials and making phone calls about customer holds. (Have you changed your holds pick up location yet?)

Most of the furniture has been removed from the library.
Almost no furniture left!

While we were busy packing up the building, we also opened our temporary UniCart service at the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center. Stop by on Wednesdays from 11am to 2pm to peruse our selection of Express Best Sellers and check one out.  Service at the UniCart is limited to checkout and return of the items borrowed from the Unicart itself. Staff do not accept returns from other branches (including Bethesda) and it is not a location for picking up holds.

Starting next week, most of our staff will be ready to greet you in their new temporary reassignment branches. Please stop by and say hello to them and stay tuned to this blog for further updates as construction commences and continues.

Nancy Benner,
Branch Manager