By Gary Hall

Your library is aging but you can't afford a new building. Expansion is out of the question there isn't any more property to expand into unless you start parking cars one on top of each other, so what to do? How about an interior facelift!     

New carpet and a fresh coat of paint that sounds good but what else. How about a little redo! Some new space planning would be great. Maybe increasing the program areas for children's story time, or a special location for your teens but, how and for how much? Circumstances have altered the services you are providing to your community; especially now that your computer and internet stations have waiting times longer than the motor vehicle department, and your bilingual and job programs are overflowing. The tutors and adult education helpers have no real space for their efforts. Yes, if you could get more from the space you have that would be great. But where do you start! 

Well how about a "Space Planner" or "Interior Designer". You would need someone who has an understanding of what services you are providing within your library without sacrificing your collections. You need someone who knows how to use colors, floor covering patterns, shelving and furniture to create the various specific divisions within your library. You want someone to listen before coming up with that grand plan.

You have interview several candidates and you have chosen a great person to work with. She sees your vision and has created a vibrant, appealing and functional space and it will make your library feel and look like it did when it was first built. She has found a way to reuse most of your existing shelving and she has helped you select carpet and floor coverings. She has used accent colors to highlight specific areas and movable rolling shelving for certain collection materials in your reading area making it a more versatile space so it can be used as increased meeting space or for special programs. She created a renovation budget and project schedule to include painting, floor covering and the several new items of furniture and shelving and it fits the anticipated funding you and your board can raise. Now how do you get it done?

With the help of your "interior Designer" you put together a single contract for everything you need to do. You will want temporary space to provide limited patron services while the renovation is ongoing, so you make it the responsibility of the contractor to setup a small area in your library to receive returns, provide interlibrary loan and access to reserved materials. You will need to have your collections, existing shelving, furniture and equipment protected during the project. Painting, floor covering installation, minor electrical and moving services have to be coordinated and you want one source to coordinate all of the requirements of the project. Your decision to have one person to speak to who can make decisions about everything that needs to be completed and who will be responsible for getting the project done on time will give you more control over the project and its schedule. You also want someone who can make a commitment to our project from start to finish and not begin the project like gang busters then have only a skeleton crew available because they have other projects in town to go to (ever have work done in your home!). You do not want to become the "General Contractor" so where do you find such a company?

American Interfile and Library Services is such a company. We will commit to the project from start to finish. The first day on the project we will set up your temporary service points, start removing the collections and divide your library into sections. We will move everything out of the first area and start painting and removing the old floor covering. As soon as that area has been painted the new floor covering will be installed while the remaining crew starts the painting in the next area. After the floor covering is completed in the first area shelving will be installed per the new floor plan. The process is repeated until all areas had been painted and new floor covering installed. Special arrangements will be made to renovate offices on weekends so the staff can continue using their independent spaces. American's ability to be flexible allows them to accommodate the various requests you may have for access to your offices, tech services and retrieval of returns. We can reconfigure your existing shelving and install any new shelving or furniture. All collections will be returned and shelved in the new shelving locations in classification order. Our constant onsite presence will keep the project on schedule. We will have walk through inspections as each phase is completed so that anything that needs attention can be addressed prior to the completion of each area. The final walk through is completed before our crew leaves your library making sure everything is the way you anticipated.

The above profile is based on a scenario taken from one of the several renovation projects American Interfile and Library Services has accomplished. We have customized and expanded our library services to address the concerns we have heard from our clients regarding undertaking an interior renovation. By having an experienced crew of library moving specialist, painters and construction personnel available we have created a one source provider for your interior renovations. Committing to one project at a time and using a straight line phasing method we can complete a project more expeditiously and efficiently. So if your space is in need of a change we can provide, painting, floor covering, interior remodeling, and all the other services required to meet your interior renovation specifications. We can also suggest interior designers or space planners who have served other libraries and have experience in library service requirements. We have found that through our over twenty-five years of serving the library community there is a need for a one source provider for all of the facets of an interior renovation and we offer these services as part of our ongoing efforts to serve our clients.