how to survive a library renovation project

Roll with the punches. Be prepared. Find your happy place.

Shelving removed and staff moving the collection
“Shelving removed and staff moving the collection” by Boatwright Library

roll with the punches

Things will happen when you least expect them. You might go into the project thinking you know what’s what, but then one day the furniture moving crew will show up a week early and you know that if you send them away, it could be three weeks before they return.

Things won’t go the way you thought they would. You might have been planning to have two weeks to move all of reference and periodicals to their new locations, but it turns out the project is ahead of schedule, so you have only one week to do it. Don’t be too proud to ask for help when you need it.

What looks good on paper won’t always be so great in reality. Or, what you have on your paper isn’t always what your partners have on their papers. Do what you can with the outcome, and push for changes if needed, but remember going into the project that nothing is perfect.

be prepared

If you know you’re going to have to move something or find a new home for materials, do it now. Don’t wait until you are told it’s time to clear the space, because that notification might not come far enough in advance.

Consider the schedule when making wardrobe selections. If you know you’re going to be helping move materials or furniture, don’t wear your best work clothes that day. In fact, this might be the perfect opportunity to sport your awesome gym gear at work. Work it, girl.

find your happy place

Renovation/construction work is messy and loud. If you can’t handle being in a messy and loud workspace, consider removing yourself from it as much as you can. Vacation time, telecommuting, or that library conference you were thinking about attending – whatever works.

If you’re stuck in the library or don’t want to leave, I highly recommend a good pair of noise canceling headphones and music or white noise. This is also useful if your normal work space is an open office environment.

Lastly, take routine breaks that aren’t impacted by the construction. Go get a cup of coffee every morning at the same time, or a soda in the afternoon. Having that familiar activity in the midst of upheaval can be grounding.