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Director's Column

PLSJC Director Alan Hall writes a weekly column discussing library and community news, history, and other interesting subjects.

Recycling into the New Building

By Alan Hall, Director, PLSJ
Publish Date - Sunday, February 4, 2018

Most of the administrative staff of the Public Library of Steubenville and Jefferson County had parents that were products of the Great Depression or world wars.


This has become evident as we move along with the Main Library renovation project; in the way we are managing the project and dealing with equipment and furniture in the renovation.


We were all taught by our parents to be frugal, to recycle, and purchase new things only when necessary as our parents had to do in their childhood ranging from 1929-1950.


I can remember watching my father use a hammer and concrete surface to straighten used nails.  I also inherited boxes and boxes of nut & bolts and screws that he had recycled before anything was finally thrown away from our household.


So, as we dismantled the accumulation of stuff from our 117 year old library building and planned for renovation and a new building; old habits re-emerged.


Comments like, “it is only 30 years old and can be refinished” brought facial expressions to the architects who envisioned brand, new everything.


Of course, I have been with the library system for 35 years and have a wonderful memory of everything I purchased over the years, and it still seems new to me.


We finally reached a gentle agreement that anything in the new administrative office area is okay to reuse, such as the 1930 Library Bureau table and chairs purchase form the Ohio State Penitentiary shops in 1936, and certainly the Board table that used to belong to the Brilliant National Bank.


Discussion is still taking place about the 1990 children’s library checkout desk which I think would be just fine at the new building entrance, with perhaps a new top.


The former reference room shelving will be wiped off and make a reappearance on the balcony, and the children’s library shelving will move upstairs to the new children’s library with the paper mache figures in their places topside.


Display niches will show off some of the library history, and the 1956 children’s story pictures, currently boxed-away, are awaiting a new home.


Architects design and manage construction, then go away into the night leaving us to manage and operate their creation.


Valentour, English, Bodnar & Howell Architects have done a monumental job creating something for all of us to be proud of, which will serve our county well for years to come.


All that other stuff that the administrative staff has recycled and reused will also serve us well, from the drinking fountain moved to the staff area, and the toilets being reinstalled in our branch libraries to replace even older toilets.


The shelving recycled into the storage area that have floor tile picked up for the cheap since no one will see it under supplies purchased in bulk for the library system.


The 1963 Director’s desk that has served 4 Directors just-fine and will continue to do so even with my son’s name etched inside the pencil drawer.


All the stuff that went to off-site storage during the construction will return to be re-installed and will look just fine.


And yes, some new things have been purchased on State of Ohio Contract and by bid to achieve the best price and it will all be beautiful.


The library system is a public entity responsible to expend your dollars to provide excellent public library service, and that is happening and will happen.


And the new building and the renovation will have an elevator and designs to be ADA compliant, and will have new efficient heating and air condition and LED lighting.


And there is one chair that I personally carried upstairs to store during construction, and when it sat it down on the floor it promptly fell over.  It only had three legs!


Leg number 4 was lying at the bottom of the stairs where it quietly fell off……..Turns out that the back of the chair was cracked.


I am sure that I have a box of screws that has just the right item to fix that leg!