As we prepare to move Marylebone Library to its new (temporary) premises in Beaumont Street, our three roomfuls of reserve book stock – known in the trade as the stacks – are being emptied as I type this. The books are travelling across the City to their own temporary homes beneath Victoria and Charing Cross Libraries.
Poetry in motion is a cliché, but it has to be applied here. The crates (bright blue) are unloaded, carried through the building, and piled up just outside the vaults where the books are waiting. The crates are carefully packed, piled in fours, each pile on a trolley, which is rolled away to the foot of the stairs. Each set of four is lifted by the hands of two men (no mechanical aids here) and loaded on to another trolley, previously left in exactly the right position. The loaded trolley then leaves the building as it is pushed round to the van.
It all gets a bit wimpish here – they use the tailgate hoist to get the crates up to the floor level of the van [note to self – deny writing “wimpish”; blame it on the blog editors!].
This process is repeated dozens of times by a crack team of packers, lifters and wheelers, until the van is full. Of course, when the van gets to Victoria or Charing Cross, they do it all again in reverse.
And soon – probably in early August – the whole thing will happen again, as the contents of the library’s two reading rooms (lending and reference) make their own shorter journey round to Beaumont Street. I’m just glad I’m not doing the lifting!