Our new home – a big underground move update

Yesterday afternoon, I popped up to what’s currently level 2 west of the Templeman library, for a quick glimpse of the new extension. It looks fantastic, and it’s great to see the building – and Special Collections and Archives’ space in it – coming together.

Photograph of the first floor of the library extension.

This will be the link between the existing building and the extension: leading to the Gallery and Special Collections & Archives offices.

Unfortunately, there have been a few delays, so we are now advising that we will be reopen our services by 21st September, which is Welcome Week for new members of the University.

This doesn’t mean that we’re having a quiet August by any means, and I thought I’d take a few moments to tell you a bit about how we’ve been preparing, and what we will be doing to transport all of our collections carefully over to the new basement in Templeman West. In all, we’re moving 3.5km of books and archival materials from their current locations, a number of basement stores below Templeman East, into the new space.

As you’ve probably noticed from our blog and Twitter feed, we’ve been lucky enough to have a small army of volunteers working with us since last September, who have been going through all of the books in the collection to clean and prepare them for the move. This includes making boards where books are bound in paper, or have lost their original bindings, tying them where they’re fragile and also wrapping them, in cases where damage might be done to the decoration on the cover. Although our volunteers have now finished for the summer, we’re still continuing this work. Recently, we tackled the huge scrapbooks owned by Sir Howard Kingsley Wood, several of which are far too heavy to be lifted by a single person!

A photograph of KW19 scrapbook, prepared for the move.

KW19 – the largest scrpabook in the Kingsley Wood Collection – now wrapped and ready to go.

In addition to this, we have been boxed a number of materials which previously weren’t boxed, or weren’t boxed particularly well. Some of the Cartoons collections have benefitted from this work, and we’ve also reboxed some 19th-20th century photographs of Italy which were previously in an embroidered scrapbook. In addition, materials from the University Archive are being carefully boxed and organised under the watchful eye of the University Archivist, Ann MacDonald.

Photograph of labelled shelves.

We’ve been labelling all of hte shelves in the basement to make sure the movers know what should go where.

Rather less exciting has been the work labelling everything, from trolleys to filing cabinets, shelves to whole bays of material in order  to match these up with our (rather complex!) plans of where everything is going to go. As we have professional movers coming to help us with the work, we need to make sure that everything is identified both in situ and during the move process, so that it ends up in the right place.

So as the final touches are being added to the building, we’re still continuing our ‘behind the scenes’ work of collections care and preparation. Because of this work, and thanks to all of the people who have been helping us, the archives and books will reach their new home in the best condition to continue being fascinating resources for research, teaching and study and we look forward to welcoming you to our new home, on the first floor of Templeman West, in September.

For more information about Templeman West, and what this means for library use, take a look at the Library News blog.

We’ll keep you up to date on progress through the website and via Twitter, @UoKSpecialColls.