To move a library, you pack everything up, load it into vans, unload it all at the other end, and arrange the furniture, the books and the computers in the new premises – right? Wrong!
Everything happens at once. Sure, to start the whole thing off you have to pull some books off the shelves and load them into crates. Or deconstruct some tables and stash them in the van. But as soon as you fill a van, it’s off to the new gaff, the contents are unloaded, and the reconstruction starts. From then on, right up to the last vanload, there is a continuous stream of stuff, out of the doors, along the streets of Marylebone, into the open maw which is Macintosh House.
If I’ve given you the impression that I am somehow a big part of this process, let me confess: I’ve been like a man in a chain gang, taking the next bucket and passing it on. I know my place!
Apart from the library’s managers, very much the clients in this operation, the masterminds are the movers, planning a vanload in their heads, assembling the ingredients and loading them. It’s not as awesome as it should be, because it’s just too smooth. They don’t shout or disagree or flounce off shaking their heads. They mutter and chat, or say nothing and just do it. Respect.
Library staff, as they do their bit towards this mammoth operation, are failing in one respect. There has been a complete disregard for the normal dress code. T-shirts (with slogans!) are being worn by almost everyone. A colleague in a rugby shirt has just carried a crate past me. And he nearly snagged my bow tie as he did so. Scandalous.
By the 28th the stream will have stopped flowing. A pity really – it’s great to witness.