What goes unnoticed

Behind the scenes of the library, an insider shares personal insight on the stocking of the new library, and the emptying of the old. Backbreaking, heavy loads of moving text set to an eclectic soundtrack of music and observation.

Day 1

I arrived at the old library a little after 8 a.m., to find a group of ten or twelve congregating in front of the philosophy section. Most of the group – like myself – were Hispanic. Unfortunately I learned very little from my parents and flunked out of my high school Spanish classes, which made it difficult for my co-workers and I to communicate.

We got to work immediately by loading several book carts and taking them to the parking lot. We then shrink-wrapped and lifted them into a delivery truck using the loading ramp. The shrink-wrapping was loud and obtrusive to the students studying.

The book carts were in fact a great deal heavier than they appeared; most carts required two to three people to lift. Heather, one of the library’s circulation supervisors, smiled at my co-worker and me and said, “I hope they’re paying you boys a lot. That looks heavy.” We worked from early that morning until six that the evening.

Day 2

We finished the history section, and I had songs from Blood on the Tracks stuck in my head all day.

There had been a concern in the old library: they’d recently purchased new books that had not yet been processed into the system. They were unsure of whether they should leave them in the old library or transfer them to the new because some of them had belonged in sections currently in transit.

Another concern was that the book carts would fit best outside the library’s scanning gate, so we took off the rope. However, some students did not walk through the gate – in spite of a large sign pointing the other way. One student walked through, oblivious on his cell phone then criticized the library aid at the desk for not making a picture on the sign when he was stopped.

After the student walked off – continuing to talk on his cell phone – the aid and I looked at the picture that is, in fact, on the sign and shrugged.

Day 5

The new library was nearly finished. Many of the walls had been painted a bright yellow. Several construction workers had drilled the framework for what looked like a future café – which would, among other things, serve Starbucks coffee.

On some walls there were rectangular holes with plugs and a frame in each; it seemed likely there would be some flat screen television sets throughout the library.

There was a very interesting fiber-glass-looking spiral art piece being suspended from the ceiling on the ground floor. We were all rather impressed with many things about the new library. However, the female voice in the elevator that keeps announcing what floor we’re on became very tiresome.

Day 6

There’s a song by The Beatles that says, “A man must break his back to earn his day of leisure.” Coupled with the fact that my Revolver shirt had been sticking to my sore back, I personally was beginning to understand what that meant. But we were all sweaty and moody, working in the hot sun pushing carts of what would be the last half of the third floor books.

Once the old library is completely emptied, the building will become a student-learning center where some counselors will set up offices. I’m constantly amazed at our library’s huge selection of books. As a writing tutor in the Academic Center, I see many English papers where students have settled for Geocities or Wikipedia as source material when there is a nearly unlimited – and more authoritative – wealth of accurate sources right here on campus.

There are books on nearly any subject needing to be researched; you’d be surprised how obscure and how specific some of our books are. There’s a book about Hindu terrorism. A book about how slavery contributes to societal progression. And for you Dane Cook fans out there, we even have a book called Nam.

Day 8

Am I the only gay guy who was unaware that the spines of Cosmo make pictures of men?
That’s what I said to myself as we began loading the volumes of periodicals. It was interesting to learn that our library has copies of Cosmo at all. In addition to that, there are a wide variety of several magazines and newspapers such as The New York Times, Newsweek, People and Rolling Stone, as well as topical journals ranging from medicine to aviation.

I wonder again why some students seem too lazy to utilize these library materials. We had loaded enough books in the new library that we had started spending a lot of our time shelving them. Thus far we’d had over 300 cartloads total for the move. I felt like someone had fired a SCUD missile at my back.

Day 9

There may have been some irony to my iPod playing “You Gotta Move” by The Rolling Stones, as three of us slowly pushed the last and heaviest of the book cart loads from the third floor. Except for some encyclopedias, the old library was nearly empty.

However, after that we ran into a few problems. First, we needed to cart off the CD racks, but the wheels were finicky. The jazz and ragtime anthologies accidentally toppled over during the move to the truck and we had to sort through them. Once everything was fixed, we began putting CDs on the second floor, which is where the DVDs are as well. In addition to being the circulation and entertainment floor, the second floor will also house the new writing center. It’s at least twice the size of the current one in the LA building.

Day 12

We had been removing shelves all day in the computer lab and running them to the new library’s storage rooms. Much of the new library was nearly finished. The carpets seemed finished, most of the lights were in place – they were kind of futuristic, like something out of a Kubrick movie – and the elevators had been completed.
Day 13

Today was the last day for most of us. There wasn’t much construction or moving left, but we had run into some more problems. For one thing, the second floor needed to finish more bookshelves, and we’d exhausted our carts – having moved more than four hundred loads – making it difficult to move more books. Additionally, we’d been moving things out of administrator’s offices. One in particular smiled as she told me, “I’m the boss, only listen to me!”

The most interesting part of the day had definitely been room 102. We were supposed to move shelves into room 102, but after searching all over, the closest we’d found was 105. 103 is right next to 112. 102 didn’t even appear on the floor plans or blueprints, quite bizarre.

We all said goodbye and good luck and resumed our normal lives. Personally, I knew that in the next few days I’d be job-hunting again and attending the library’s open house. To see UVU’s new library completed would be very interesting.

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