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Sounded Like a Joke

It could have been a joke.  “The economy is so bad – we had to let our volunteers go” 

But no one was laughing on Wednesday, May 6, 2009, when Jenny Worley, ESA Circulation Manager, asked the nineteen DCLS volunteers present to please stop working for her.  This strange request was due to the extensive renovations scheduled to take place at the East Shore Area Library. 

A larger parking lot, updated heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, new phone, computer and electrical wiring; additional office space, a larger workroom, and updated carpeting are all needed improvements.  Architectural drawings were shared as Jenny explained, not only was there going to be the major reconstruction happening, but simultaneously, new processes will be implemented to better serve growing patron needs like self-serve “hold” and “checkout” areas and new software programs.  While the end result will be expansion, the changes will be implemented in halves.  Closing a half for construction and squeezing public and staff workspaces into the other half, will create less than desirable working conditions. Administration decided that ESA would be “no place for volunteers” during construction.  Initial shock and dismay expressed by the volunteers, was followed by well wishes, suggested replacement activities, and inquiries about serving at other libraries in the System during the hiatus.  DCLS staff assured everyone that when the renovations are complete, DCLS will be welcoming volunteers back to ESA. 

The original thought was that ESA would be fully renovated, up and running again by the Fall of 2009.  Unfortunately, as with most renovation projects, there have been numerous delays.  But Project managers are happy to report that progress is being made.  The east side parking lot has been expanded for 22 cars; revisions to the heating and cooling systems are well in hand; and library operations have all shifted to one side of the Library for Phase One, even the Collection Management and Automation Services Departments located on the lower level of the building.  The volunteer program along with long term volunteers will be impacted by the numerous changes in procedures that are simultaneously being implemented such as Self-Check Out and Self-Serve Hold retrievals.  ESA will certainly offer a new experience when volunteers are welcomed back to service. 

Expectations are to have the project completed by early 2010.  Your patience is greatly appreciated, and I will do my best to keep everyone informed on the progress. 

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Joni Williamson, Volunteer Program Coordinator

 

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