When we last left Ian, like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives…, he said, optimistically, “looks like the unpacking will be up to me (which I’m quietly pleased about, because I need to do lots of culling).”
Well, here we are at Day #2 of Project BER and things are going swimmingly. On Tuesday I wandered around my new BER library space in a daze for about two hours, tinkering here and there, unpacking a box here, having lessons in lights and door locks there, but I was able to coerce a teacher-librarian colleague to check out the job facing me and we agreed things weren’t too bad at all. But what a challenge!
The previous library was hideously overstocked and over-furnished, so looking at the bare minimum new library furnishings allocated to a school of our population, and the hundreds of cartons needing to be unpacked, was very difficult. The Principal’s first comment was that there seemed to be “lots of shelves” but I knew immediately there was much less than we’d had before. I resolved to let that panic aid in my cull. A friend commented tonight that it was appalling that a TL had to do his own unpacking, but I explained that it’s my job to do the decision-making on what I cull – and I’d much rather cull as each box is emptied, and do so methodically. There certainly won’t be enough shelves to take the full capacity of all the boxes. (We had a team of eight pro packers to pack up the old library, but it happened so fast I couldn’t cull as we went. I could barely keep up with labelling. Just imagine the mess if they had come back to unpack and only got halfway through before running out!)
I realised today that, had I tried to cull stock in the old library, I couldn’t have been this ruthless. In the new library, surrounded by the wonderful smell of newness, culling is easy. “Do I really want this old, wrinkled, stained book (that I recall borrowing at my own primary school in the 60s) on the new, pristine shelves?” Nah. Easy! Imagine if we’d received exactly the replacement furniture that we’d had before: I wouldn’t have culled much at all, and we’d end up with the same problems we’d had before.
Yesterday on my own, Junior Fiction A-C then back to teach a class of school camp leftovers. Today all day plus a trained helper, Junior Fiction D-Z and Fiction A-O, culling all the way! Good progress, methinks. The Principal has taken me off most of my teaching responsibilities for the time being, our head clerical sourced a trained library assistant for two days (to start), my regular SASS person is ducking across at every spare opportunity (library is only one-fifth of her weekly duties) and we are aiming to have the library open for Week 7, running to the usual timetable. This being Week 2 of the term, my door-to-door wandering minstrel act is finally over. This strategy will give the students their first taste of the new library before 2010 ends. Normally I’d be stocktaking the last three weeks but I’m going to try to get the disposed items noted in OASIS (and to complete a stocktake) after getting all the boxes unpacked.
I’m blissfully happy, but dusty, after a full day of drudgery that is unpacking. Books, books, books, a bear, a chook (great help, not – see above pic), and more books. Tomorrow I’m on my own again, and in the afternoon I’m back teaching the class of school camp leftovers. On Friday, my trained helper is back. Two parents have also popped in today, offering their services whenever I need it. We are getting there! Wish me luck!