There is still much to be done, but the Patience S. Latting Northwest Library is on schedule to open May 22.
Workers are putting the final touches on the inside of the 35,000-square-foot structure. That includes moving about 150,000 books, magazines, DVDs and other materials into the building at 5600 NW 122.
Library manager Julie Ballou said the Metro Library System began buying materials in 2006 in anticipation of the library's opening.
Since then, those items have been stored in boxes at various locations in the library system.
Problem is, none of those books were sorted into categories. That would have been a time-consuming effort if not for a machine at the system's service center that scans the bar codes of each book when it is moved through a sorter, sending the book to bins divided up by category.
“This helps us streamline the process,” Ballou said.
Once the books are sorted at the service center, they are taken to the location and shelved, which is a challenge in itself.
While the library has plenty of shelf space, shelving books in an empty library can be a challenge.
“It can be very difficult to shelve in a library with nothing on the shelf,” she said. “It takes time to figure out where an item has to go, but it does get easier as you start filling the shelves up.”
Ballou said this move is a bit trickier than the Downtown Library move.
That facility is larger, but Ballou said the books in the old downtown library were moved without having to remove them from the shelves.
“We never took them out of order while we moved them,” she said. “In the case of this library, everything was randomly boxed up so we started from scratch.”
There is more to opening a library than moving books. Workers are putting the final touches on the installation of 48 public computers and another eight for use by children. The move-in effort has been all encompassing for staff with several coming over from other branches to help out.
“It has been a huge team effort,” Ballou said. “We've had everyone involved from maintenance to IT to librarians. Everyone has pitched in. It's been amazing.”
Ballou said the library will kick off its May 22 opening with a ribbon cutting. There also will be a reception with live music. And the library's kids programs will kick off immediately with programs like puppet making, Lego robotics, critter tales, a pianist and Gustafer Yellowgold, a multimedia performer.