Volusia County will spend $56,000 two remove shelves at two of its branch libraries. The two branches are getting new carpeting. Library Director Lucinda Colee says there are more than 129,000 books at the DeLand branch alone.
"It's a real hassle for the staff."
So instead of moving the books themselves, Colee says the library system has hired a contractor to move the entire shelves without ever having to move a single book.
"We don't have to, you know, obviously re-shelve them. We don't have to box, unbox, so it's a real time saver, and it keeps our collection intact."
The company is called Florida Library Designs and they have a unique system called the Universal Air Lift. Air compressions are used to raise the entire shelf, then wheels are placed underneath and the shelf is whisked away while the carpet is replaced. Volusia Chairman Jason Davis says he's convinced this is the best option.
"It's more cost effective to have this machine come in and lift the whole rack, which weighs about 5,000 pounds. It can lift this huge weight."
We asked the Library Director is this would be a suitable job for someone doing community service, or perhaps even inmates to lower the cost. Lucinda Colee told us they could spend months trying to put books back in the right place if that type of labor were used.
"It would be difficult if they don't understand how library materials are shelved. If they don't understand the Dewey Decimal system, the materials might not go back on the shelf in the right order. We've had entire shelves switched when they come out of the boxes."
The $56,000 does cover both libraries that will have carpets replaced. Even with the air lift removal system the DeLand branch will have to be closed for three weeks for all of the renovations.