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Moving, storing, insuring contents of Central Library during renovation a heavy lift

Central Library, planes Saved from potential demolition, Central Library's contents are to be moved and stored for three years while the building is renovated. File/Credit: David Pendered

By David Pendered

Moving a household is hard enough. Moving the contents of the Central Library, in Downtown Atlanta, to storage facilities during the library’s renovation takes the concept of a move to a whole other level. The process is just getting started.

Central Library, planes

Saved from potential demolition, Central Library’s contents are to be moved and stored for three years while the building is renovated. File/Credit: David Pendered

Fulton County’s main message is to inform companies that the county intends to be a picky client during a renovation project that could last three years.

The county issued a request for proposals July 27. Bids are due Sept. 11.

Consider all the artwork inside the library.

Each piece is to remain in the same orientation it had on the shelf, cabinet or wall, meaning vertical or horizontal. There’s to be no tipping of artwork, no turning it upside down, don’t even think of dropping, jarring or jostling it.

Just like in the movies, the artwork is to be transported in trucks with doors that are to be tagged closed with an identification tag for that particular load and that particular inventory list. A library staffer will supervise the loading of trucks and the truck door cannot be opened at the warehouse until a library staffer is present.

The mover is to provide a $1 million insurance policy on the artwork alone.

Consider the special collections and rare books.

Acid free boxes and packing are required. All books are to be lifted by the top of their spine and set on a book cart in the same order they were on the shelf. The cart is to be wrapped in dark plastic, to prevent damage from ultraviolet light.

central libary, shelves

All the books in Central Library are to be transferred to book carts in the same order they appear on shelves. Credit: David Pendered

Items to be stored at the Auburn Avenue Research Library on African American Culture and History are to be moved from the book carts to shelving in the library.

Fulton County is fairly precise in the conditions it expects of the warehouse facility where other items in the rare books collection are stored.

Temperature may range from 65 degrees to 70 degree, but the temperature is to remain stable. Humidity may range from 40 percent to 55 percent, and it, too, must be stable. Of course the facility is to be free of pests and a pest service must be maintained. Library staffers may inspect conditions at frequencies of their choosing.

Seeking a moving company may seem a bit premature.

Public comment sessions are likely to be convened to gather information about what the public expects from the library. A grassroots lobbying effort saved Central Library from potential demolition as critics contended the building is an eyesore that no longer meets the mission of a modern public library and renovations costs are too high.

Each item in Central Library is to be logged before it is transported to storage during the renovation project. Credit: David Pendered

Central Library is the last building designed by world-renown architect Marcel Breuer, who used the same brutalist style he deployed in his acclaimed Whitney Museum of Modern Art, in New York. Central Library opened in 1980 as the Atlanta’s statement to the world that it had arrived as a major city. The design isn’t to everyone’s taste, but it does mark a moment in Atlanta’s history during the administration the city’s first black mayor, Maynard Jackson.

One renovation plan floated by the library system called for retooling five or six floors for library purposes. This would leave three to four floors available for lease. A number of potential public uses have been discussed, including locating Fulton County employees in the space.

Renovating the floors for library use would involve, “extensive renovations,” according to the report. The remaining floors would require less extensive renovation efforts.

According to a Facebook post by Friends of the Central Atlanta Library, the county has retained Cooper Carry and Raleigh-based Vines Architecture to lead the programming and early design phase. The two companies collaborated on the Alpharetta branch library, which opened in 2015.

The length of construction isn’t known. So Fulton County’s procurement team best-guessed the work will last about three years. Terms of the moving contract extend 1,156 days and are subject to amendment.

The performance bond on this contract is 100 percent of the total contract amount, payable by the terms of the contract. Surety companies must appear on the U.S. Treasury Department’s most current list and be authorized to transact business as a surety in Georgia.


David Pendered

David Pendered, Managing Editor, is an Atlanta journalist with more than 30 years experience reporting on the region’s urban affairs, from Atlanta City Hall to the state Capitol. Since 2008, he has written for print and digital publications, and advised on media and governmental affairs. Previously, he spent more than 26 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and won awards for his coverage of schools and urban development. David graduated from North Carolina State University and was a Western Knight Center Fellow.


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1 Comment

  1. Letmesaythis July 31, 2017 1:25 pm

    Lets hope and pray during the renovation, that the building does not “accidentally” catch fire and burn to the ground.
    …as so many other building have in Atlanta.
    The FaceBook friends should insist on 24/7 security / fire protection.Report


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