Library DrawingThe CONNector

April 2002Volume 4 Number 2

The Move to Van Block: A State Library Odyssey

Richard Kingston, Director of Administrative Services

Photo of someone vacuuming materials.
Vacuuming fragile materials.

Bright and early on Monday, March 4th, the State Library began its work in earnest. The job at hand was to move more than 31,000 archival items, 33,000 books and periodicals, 3,500 volumes of original Connecticut newspapers, and 3,500 linear feet of state and federal Supreme Court records and briefs, and do it in less than four weeks. As the new Van Block facility has over 10 linear miles of shelving; the task of removing, cleaning, moving and then placing all of these collection materials in just the right place was monumental.. With the very able assistance of the William B. Meyer Company all this was accomplished in an efficient and timely fashion and with a few days to spare.

Photo of stacks of books to be moved.
Materials to be moved.

In January we began with an empty 45,000 square foot building; by the end of February, much of this space was filled with rows and rows of empty compact and fixed library and archival shelving. By the beginning of April, most of this empty shelving had been converted into solid walls made of cardboard box and bookbindings. The offices, once void of any items, are now filled with office furniture, computers, phones, and everything else staff need to do their jobs. The Conference Room that once could carry an echo for seemingly endless distances, now has chairs and tables wherever you look. Even the computer lab is taking shape with furniture and computers due for delivery any day now. As collection and archival materials have been given a new home, so will a number of State Library staff. LeAnn Johnson, the Public Records Grants Administrator for this agency, will serve as facility manager for the Van Block facility.

Photo of movers bring the newspapers into the new space.
A new home for newspapers.

Many State Library staff took part in the planning and execution of this daunting task. Stephen Slovasky headed up a group of dedicated Information Services staff while Bruce Stark did the same for the Archives Unit of the State Library. Just to mention a few of the many Information Services staff involved: Nancy Peluso, Kevin Johnson, Jose Martinez, Cheryl Schutt, Dick Roberts, Denise Jernigan, and Jane Cullinane. Bruce Stark from the State Archives was very ably assisted by Mark Jones, Lizette Pelletier, George Miller, and Edward Gutierrez.

I also want to acknowledge the efforts of two of my staff who did a wonderful job in making this building ready for occupancy. Mario Colagiovanni of Automation Services and Jenifer Miller of the Purchasing Unit were invaluable in making this project the success it has become. In addition to State Library staff, the building's owners, the Connecticut Department of Public Works, and the many vendors that worked with us to ready this facility are also to be commended for their cooperation and flexibility. Finally, I want to thank the State Librarian, Kendall Wiggin; the Public Records Administrator, Eunice DiBella; the Director of Information Services, Lynne Newell; the Administrator, Museum of Connecticut History, Dean Nelson assisted by Dave Corrigan and Howard Miller for all of their efforts in making our Homeric dream a reality.

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