Re-use, Modify, and Save
The story of our library’s book shelves:


Shelving Modification Stage I:

Tenafly High School’s library originally had low metal shelving with Formica tops and metal end caps.  Over the years the Formica tops chipped and began to look terrible.
Slide1New shelving costs were out of reach so we needed to be creative.  In 2006 we proposed a shelving overhaul. In addition, the library was being used more and more for events, so we needed to devise a way to make the shelving mobile.  These needs resulted in building a hidden undercarriage consisting of two 2″x 8″x 12′ wood planks with low profile casters and a 1″ x 6″ x 12′ fascia board painted black to hide the casters. Black laminate with an oak bull-nose were chosen to replace the tops.  Oak bull-nose makes the tops rugged and impervious to chipping and peeling.  As end panels, we used oak stair treads with a center 4″ brushed aluminum trim. Dated and dilapidated shelving units were transformed into handsome, new looking, mobile shelving units.  Students over the summer assisted in performing the work to modify all 13 units.  What would have cost $40-50,000 purchasing new, we did for less than $8,000 – and we got a far better result – and students got some hands on experience!IMG_1877 (1)

Shelving Modification Stage II: Budget cutbacks: Our library had a computer lab on the mezzanine level supervised by two part time aides.  In order to save costs, the lab was brought down to the main floor, and the 13 mobile shelves and books would be brought up to the mezzanine level.  The computer lab morphed into a system where students could check out computers at the circulation desk – this assigned responsibility resulting in zero vandalism.  Students could take the laptops to a table and work where they pleased.

Shelving Modification Stage III: Shelving Modification II: In order to more efficiently utilize the space on the mezzanine level, we decided to install new shelving verticals along a 110′ wall to impressively display our nine-hundreds collection of books.  Concurrently, we decided to reduce the size of each shelving unit by one quarter (from 12′ to 9′) so the units could fit into the five “balconettes” to best utilize space.  We also reduced the height of the shelves by 4 inches to a comfortable counter height.  The entire 900s collection is now handsomely displayed and comfortably accessible to students.    With these modifications,  we have nearly 200 square feet of table-top exhibit space for student work.

Two left over shelving units were moved to the main level and are modified for specialized student seating.  They will be placed along the windows so students may look out into our courtyard most of the time.  In addition, they are used for chess tournaments (seating on both sides) and game show events in our TV studio.

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