West Tisbury Library moves into smaller temporary quarters

Many more books remain to be moved. — Photo by Tony Omer

The West Tisbury library staff is busy preparing to move to a much smaller, temporary location across town to clear the stacks for a $6 million library renovation project. Although the new space will accommodate only a small fraction of the library collection, there will still be plenty for the staff to do.

The library, in the heart of West Tisbury across from Alley’s General Store, will close its doors at the end of the day Saturday, October 13. On Sunday, the staff will begin moving into a new location in the Middletown Village office space complex across from Conroy Apothecary on State Road in North Tisbury. The temporary library will be open Monday, October 15.

They hope to move back by January of 2014, according to Beth Kramer, West Tisbury library director. “We are going to start small and beautiful in the temporary space,” she said. “I am looking forward to seeing what we create in our new little space.”

Scaling down from 5,600 square feet of library space to the 600 square foot office space has been carefully planned, according to children’s-young adult librarian Nelia Decker, who has been actively involved in the project. She said that new books for children and adults will be available at the temporary space along with a collection of DVD’s, laptops, printers, copying and faxing and passport application services.

Inter-library loan will make a large pool of books available from other Island libraries. The library has recently joined the Cape Libraries Automated Materials Sharing (CLAMS) system, a cooperative association of libraries on Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket that shares resources through a computer network. When the library’s collection is integrated into the CLAMS system and the the staff is up to speed, borrowers will be able to access more than 1.5 million items, according to Ms. Decker.

“Because we will be in such a small space we want to be reaching out into the community more,” said Ms. Decker. Some of the library programs will hit the road. “The Mother Goose on the Loose” program, for one, will be presented at the Vineyard Haven and Oak Bluffs libraries, MV Community Services and on Mondays and Fridays at 10:30 at the old library building on Music Street behind the town hall beginning in November.

Ms. Decker remembers the 1993 move from the old library on Music Street, the tiny 1870’s Victorian building which she says was larger than the new temporary library. That building is now owned by the Martha’s Vineyard Preservation Trust and is used by the Island Theater Workshop.

Ms. Decker said the staff and some volunteers have already been helping with the move, packing books and delivering them to the new location and to different storage locations at other institutions, schools, other libraries, and nonprofit groups.

The West Tisbury School Library will keep some books on their shelves where they can be checked out. The largest portion of the collection will be moved by professional movers to long-term storage and will not be accessible until the renovated library opens in January 2014.

Behind the scenes

When the library downsizes to the temporary location there will still be plenty of work to do, according to Ms. Kramer, who has several major projects planned. One involves relabeling the entire collection, converting it from the Dewey decimal system to a much newer category-based system called Book Industry Standards and Communications (BISAC).

“The BISAC system is more like a bookstore. It’s the system most bookstores use,” Ms. Decker said. “It allows the reader more independence. It’s more intuitive, with one subject flowing into the next. If you were to look up airplanes with the Dewey system you might have to go to three different places, pilots, airports and airplanes. These will all be in the same location with BISAC.”

The renovated library

The total cost of the upgraded library is expected to be more than $6 million. The cost will be split among a $2.98 million state grant, $1.57 million in private donations to the West Tisbury Library Foundation, and the town’s $1.5-million share, which was approved at town meeting in April, 2011 by a near unanimous vote. The new library will have around 13,000 feet of space.

Ground-breaking for the renovation will take place around Thanksgiving. “The bids have gone out and we are opening bids on the 23rd of this month,” Ms. Kramer said. “There has been a great response from contractors.”

She said she is looking forward to the first shovel going in. “It’s a lot of change, but all of it is exciting,” she said. Usually calm and composed, Ms. Kramer uncharacteristically declared. “Oh, I’m so nervous.”

West Tisbury Library notes

People interested in helping with the move should call the library or sign up at the front desk.

The library will be giving away the plants that are planted in front and the sides of the building this Saturday, October 13, from 8 am to 1 pm. People who would like to dig up and take home plants are encouraged to bring a shovel.

To donate books for the Friends of the West Tisbury book sale there is a book drop at the West Tisbury School.

Items to be returned to the library can be returned through Saturday at the Library and to the Middletown Village location on Monday. The drive-up drop-off box will be moved to the new location.

The library website (westtisburylibrary.org) will have up-to-date information. The phone number will remain the same, 508-693-3366.