Issue 86 (Winter 2010)

APLIC Communicator
Winter 2010, Issue #86
Theme Issue: Libraries on the Move

The APLIC Communicator is generally published two times yearly, in January and June, by APLIC.
Laurie Calhoun, International Center for Research on Women, 1120 20th St., NW, Ste. 500 North, Washington, DC 20036. Phone: 202-742-1226; Fax: 202-797-0020; E-mail:
Tara E. Murray, Penn State, Population Research Institute, 601 Oswald Tower, University Park, PA 16802. Phone: 814-863-7547; Fax: 814-863-8342; E-mail:

Table of Contents

President’s Message

by Claire Twose, Johns Hopkins University

Welcome to the New Year and welcome to the new look for the APLIC website. Building on the good work last year that created a new logo and tag line for the organization Tara Murray has redesigned APLIC website along with help from the communications committee of Laurie Calhoun, Nykia M. Perez and Kay Willson. Easily find our publications, the blog, and information about past and future APLIC conferences in our clean new site. Many thanks for all your hard work!

Also new is a change in roles: Kiet Bang has moved on from Penn State to work in Oklahoma. I have been president all of two months and look forward to working with you over the coming year.

This year is also another milestone in population studies with the upcoming 2010 Census. We are pleased to be presenting a conference program in Dallas: Population Information Roundup: Tools, Experts, and Networks including what promises to be a valuable introduction to Census 2010 from Elana Broch of Princeton University, as well as sessions addressing relevant tools and issues including data use, Mexican immigration trends, and tools to support collaboration across organizations.

See you all in Dallas!

New APLIC Web Site

by Tara Murray, Penn State

The new APLIC website is here! The new site uses our new logo, unveiled at the 2009 conference, and we’ve made some minor changes to the make the site easier for our members to navigate.

If you have comments or suggestions about the site, or if you can’t find something, please let us know by contacting a member of the APLIC Communications Committee: Tara Murray, Laurie Calhoun, or Nykia Perez.

Don’t forget to follow the APLIC Blog to keep up with news of interest to APLIC members in between newsletter issues. Your APLIC bloggers have been posting away!

Message from the New Membership Chair

by Yan Fu, University of Michigan

Happy New Year from your new membership chair! My predecessor Kiet Bang, after many years of dedicated service to APLIC, has left Penn State Population Research Institute. With his new job responsibilities in a new city, he informed us that he cannot continue to serve as a membership chair. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Kiet for his excellent work on APLIC membership in the past years and to wish him good luck in his new job.

The beginning of a new year is time to send in your annual membership renewal form. If you are wondering when you renewed last time and if it has been a year, I would like to remind everyone that APLIC membership is calendar year based. Your 2010 membership is from January to December and membership fee is due now. If you have not participated in APLIC recently, this is a great time to come back to APLIC. We have a new website, a new logo and a new tagline. Moreover, the current board of directors and members consist of dedicated colleagues who truly value networking, information sharing, technology learning and meeting challenges in the new era. Join or renew your membership and be a part of a global network of population information professionals!

Libraries on the Move

Library and Office Move Planning for Library Staff

by Jill Leonard, Family Health International

In 2008, Family Health International’s Arlington office moved from the Courthouse Metro to the new Ballston office. This entailed moving more than 100 employees, a library with 20 years of materials and accounting/financial offices with reams of sensitive paperwork. Overall, for the library, the transition went very smoothly. Good planning and foresight are keys to a successful move.

Pre-move long term
  • Photograph your old space now so you can compare it to the new space later.
  • Contact subscribed journals to make any changes to delivery addresses.
  • Make sure to have library staff included on all space planning decisions and taskforces.
  • Think about how new library space connects with other spaces—lounges, break rooms, reception areas, service entries, etc.. Location can increase or decrease physical use of use of library.
  • Consider placement of outlets, telephone jacks and internet wiring in the library.
  • Consider fire codes when planning placement of shelves in new library.
  • Consider new furniture purchases for library or getting furniture from other areas in your office.
  • Carefully plan and design shelf configurations—having to move them again later on can cause breaks in contiguously shelved books and more work rearranging materials.
  • Consider weeding collection as much as possible prior to move. Plan to get mini dumpsters up to 1-2 months early as competition for dumpsters gets higher as move approaches. When weeding journals, check online collections to see when editions begin online and consider keeping hardcopies of older, non-electronic editions and weeding newer materials that are now online.
  • Alert staff early on your library policy of dealing with staff “donated” materials during the move packing process. Staff will be cleaning out their offices and may ask library staff to review/accept materials at the last minute.
Pre-move short term
  • Plan to be on site each and every day of packing and unpacking.
  • Plan to meet personally with those doing the packing–do not rely on third parties–work with and supervise the move personally.
  • Label all shelves and use strong sticky tape/labels—not post-it notes—so that you or movers can reshelve contents. Better yet, use pre-labeled wooden trucks onto which shelf contents can be transferred and remain upright and in order. Our moving company had several of these wheeled trucks for moving 3-4 shelf loads at a time upright and together. It made the move much easier for them and us.
Days of move
  • Be present and part of working closely with movers from the start of day to the finish.
  • Be present on days of unpacking, too.
  • Leave lots of space at ends of shelves and bottom shelves for future materials.
Post move
  • Thank all parties involved in the process.
  • Review shelves and especially journals to ensure correct order.
  • Monitor journals to make sure print copies are arriving at new address.
  • Photograph the new space and share the new look of the space with offsite staff and contacts.

Asbestos and Paint: A New Look for the Population Research Institute Library

by Tara Murray, Penn State

Oswald Tower. Photo credit: Greg Grieco.

Oswald Tower. Photo credit: Greg Grieco.

The Population Research Institute has an ideal central location in Oswald Tower on Penn State’s campus, but we are in an old building with the problems you might expect in an old building: leaking pipes, unpredictable heating and cooling, and, yes, asbestos.

A couple of weeks before the end of the fall semester, I found out that our office of physical plant was going to perform asbestos abatement at the end of the semester. In order to do the work, they needed to move all furniture 4 ft. away from heating and cooling units along the outside walls—including several bookcases and file cabinets in the library.

This gave me and my staff about two weeks to figure out the best way to empty the shelves so that the bookcases could be moved and let our patrons know the library was closing.

Taking advantage of the situation
Reference alcove, before the move

Reference alcove, before the move

Study area, before the move

Study area, before the move

I started to think about how to fit in emptying half the shelves in the library while completing some end-of-semester projects, and I was a little grumpy about the inconvenience. Then it hit me—we’d been talking about rearranging the library for a long time, and this just might be our chance to get it done. Because the asbestos abatement was being paid for centrally, we weren’t paying for the moving services out of our library budget. I asked the staff assistant who was coordinating the asbestos project if we could have the movers put the furniture back in different places when they were done. “Sure, I don’t see why not,” she said.

The library was cramped and dark and our shelves were full to bursting. You couldn’t even see the reference shelf, tucked into an alcove, when you walked in to the library. Graduate students used the library regularly for project meetings and study space, but with more than about four people in the room it seemed very crowded.

Clearing the shelves

So, we set to work. I posted to our library blog that the library would be closed and that staff might be working in alternate locations (because asbestos abatement would also be done in staff offices on a rotating schedule). I encouraged patrons to email us for assistance. The upheaval came at a good time, because faculty and students were already starting to vacate campus for the winter holiday break.

We got wooden “coffin boxes” and cardboard boxes. Together with my two staff members, we emptied shelves, being careful to keep the books in order. We stacked the boxes in between the bookcases that weren’t being moved and in the hallway when we ran out of room. We didn’t worry too much about keeping anything accessible, because, after all, the library was only closing for a couple of days. (This would come back to haunt us…)

A library in boxes

A library in boxes

Even libraries have to throw things away

Even libraries have to throw things away

We wore jeans and t-shirts to work, because, as we discovered, books are dirty. We dusted and cleaned surfaces that hadn’t been touched in a long time.  We went through boxes of materials that had been waiting for years. We filled bags of trash and recycling and apologized to our janitor.

Taking advantage of the situation, part 2

Penn State has a program that allows departments to paint public spaces at no cost to the department. The University supplies the paint and a supervisor, and the department supplies the volunteer labor. The library needed to be painted, but we had previously decided not to paint it because of the amount of furniture moving involved. Now that the furniture had been moved, however, it occurred to us that it would be an ideal time to paint.

We scheduled painting for Jan. 13 and announced that the library would be closed for an additional 2 weeks at the beginning of the spring semester.

Our patrons were very understanding, but several times I wished we’d been more careful about piling books into boxes and stacking them high. If only we could have reached that APA style manual…

Floor plan

Floor plan

After a day of painting, my staff and I drew up a floor plan so we could tell the movers where to put the library furniture. I came in early the next day to direct the movers, and then we spent the rest of the day putting books back on shelves, spacing books, and making new signs.

The new library arrangement is more open. We no longer have furniture blocking the windows (and our view of Beaver Stadium). Perhaps most importantly, we have very little furniture in front of the HVAC units. This is important because there will be another phase of the asbestos abatement project!

While I would have done a few things differently during the move, in all it was a fairly painless process and we ended up with a much improved library space. Feedback from our patrons so far has been overwhelmingly positive.

Study area, after the move

Study area, after the move

Journals, after the move

Journals, after the move

PATH’s Library moves to the new PATH Headquarters Building

by Jane Goett, PATH

All packed up and ready to move

All packed up and ready to move

On January 4th, 2010, PATH opened its new Seattle headquarters in downtown Seattle. The move was announced in April 2009, leaving about 8 months to plan for, and execute, a move involving 330 staff and all their gear.

The Knowledge Services Team, which operates the Library, had the responsibility for preparing the collection for the move—and for unpacking it in the new building. We met with the design team early on and had some input into the design of the space. The new Library space ended up being about 60% of the size of the space in the previous building, and we have a work room where we can process new materials. The Library itself is located in a prime spot—just off the elevator lobby, next door to the Board Room. There’s also a nice view of downtown from the Library. (And I can see the Space Needle from my cubicle!)

The new view from the library

The new view from the library

Given the reduced space, the Knowledge Services staff spent a lot of time last fall evaluating the existing collection. Many large runs of journals were pared down to a 5-year retention period, especially for journal titles that are easily accessed through ILL channels. We made some exceptions for journals that are especially relevant to PATH’s work, such as Contraception. We also made a special effort to keep grey literature titles and other titles that would be difficult to track down through ILL.

The book collection was also evaluated with an eye toward keeping materials that are especially relevant to PATH’s work, past and present. In some subject areas, such as management and medicine, we weeded heavily and mainly kept current materials. In other sections, such as reproductive health and appropriate technology, we also kept more historical items. (Because it isn’t all available online!) Fortunately, we were able to figure some off-site storage space into our decisions. All together, we donated or discarded about 30% of the collection and sent another 15% off-site. Once we unpacked, the collection fit into the new space with some room for growth.

Library near Board Room entrance

Library near Board Room entrance

By the end of the first week in the new building, the Library shelves were neatly arranged, and people were checking out items and coming to read the newspapers. We even hosted our weekly “Cookie Friday in the Library” that first week, to the delight of staff.

We are still waiting on a few details to be fall into place, such as the delivery of some comfortable furniture, but this week we got plants and artwork, so it is beginning to look and feel like we are moved in.

Library windows

Library windows

Library stacks

Library stacks

Library near Board Room entrance

Library near Board Room entrance

Further Reading

For another APLIC library move story, see Laurie Calhoun’s article from the winter/spring 2008 issue of the Communicator, Moving a Library: Lessons Learned from ICRW’s Recent Move.

Happenings: Calendar of Events

by Tara Murray, Penn State

This APLIC Communicator feature has been on hiatus for the past year but it’s back for the spring 2010 conference season.

April 12-14, 2010
Dallas, Texas
APLIC 43rd Annual Conference: Population Information Roundup: Tools, Experts, and Networks

April 15-17, 2010
Dallas, Texas
Population Association of American Annual Meeting

May 21-26, 2010
Washington, DC
MLA 2010 Annual Meeting and Exhibition

June 1-4, 2010
Ithaca, New York
IASSIST 2010: Social Data and Social Networking: Connecting Social Science Communities across the Globe

June 13-16, 2010
New Orleans, Louisiana
SLA 2010 Annual Conference & INFO-EXPO

June 24-29, 2010
Washington, DC
American Library Association 2010 Annual Conference

Write for the Communicator!

by Tara Murray, Penn State

Have you undertaken a new project in your organization?

Have you attended a library- or population-relevant event?

Do you have new staff to introduce?

Would you like to interview a fellow APLIC member?

These are just a few ideas for Communicator articles. If you are interested in writing for the Communicator, we’d love to hear from you. Please contact the editors, Tara Murray and Laurie Calhoun, for more information. The next issue will be published in summer 2010.