How We Spent Our Summer “Vacation” (2012)

By Monica Orozco

IMG_1110In case you haven’t heard or seen yet, the Archive-Library has been through a few changes in the past couple of years. And I think this is a good forum to show you what we’ve been up to thanks to the generosity of many.

For several years we dreamed of one day installing state of the art shelving that met archival standards. Our existing shelving consisted of several beautiful wood book shelves installed when the Archive was built back in 1967. While they were beautiful, they didn’t meet archival standards. Over the years other shelves, wood and metal, had been added. These were often used items gathered from friends. In addition we had dozens of metal filing cabinets. These were also used and not always in the best condition.

My predecessor, Lynn Bremer began the process of making this dream of new shelving come true when SBMAL received a donation from the Thomas J. and Erma Jean Tracy Family Foundation. But the cost of this kind of project appeared to make it out of reach. Shortly after I became director, I found Lynn’s preliminary work on this project and decided to continue from where she left off. In 2010 I began working with Randy Hacker from McMurray Stern on designs for high density compact shelving.  And then our dream was made possible when in December of 2011 we received very generous grant from the Wood-Claeyssens Foundation.  We now had the funds to purchase high density compact mobile shelving that would house our existing collection and also provide room to grow!

The project began in the summer of 2012. To prepare for this shelving to be installed the entire collection normally housed in our main work room had to be packed up and moved into storage in our conference room. As the photos show, this was a formidable task, but thanks to additional funding from the John Gherini Charitable Foundation, we had Service Master to help us with this part of the project.

Once the room was cleared out (and we had a brief concert provided by Brian Burd and Fran Malinoff) it was time for the room to get a fresh coat of paint. Then the building began with the installation of rails and a platform. Then the frames of the carriages appeared. The electrical system was installed, followed by the exterior panels and new flooring. The John Gherini Charitable Foundation provided the funds for the painting and the new flooring. The build took three weeks.

This was a stunning transformation for us! This unit allows us to use our limited space more efficiently. It also provides more security for our collection. No longer will we fear books flying off the shelves during an earthquake, or worse yet, the shelves falling on our volunteers! In addition, we can lock the unit at the end of the day, providing another layer of protection.

Once installation was complete, we needed to place everything into its new home. This was accomplished over the next few weeks thanks to our many volunteers (including my mom) and our friends like Anne Petersen from the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation.

This project was quite the undertaking, but was more than worth it! It would not have been possible without our many volunteers and the generous support of the Wood-Claeyssens Foundation, the John Gherini Charitable Foundation and the Thomas J. and Erma Jean Tracy Family Foundation.

Monica Orozco is the director of the Santa Bárbara Mission Archive-Library

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