MIDDLEBURY, Vt.-Before Middlebury College opens its new library, a professional moving company will undertake a massive task?moving nearly one million books, journals and other items from the current library to the new one beginning May 24. William B. Meyer, a Stratford, Conn.-based moving company, will conduct the move, which is scheduled to be complete on June 18. The new library, a $40 million, 140,000 square-foot structure, will open in June.

According to Middlebury College Dean of Library and Information Services Barbara Doyle-Wilch, there will be several days of preparation before the actual move begins. “The moving company will clean and label all the shelves in the new library and vacuum all the books so that they are free of dust,” said Doyle-Wilch.

Bob Lieberwirth, operations manager for the company’s northeast division, said William B. Meyer is one of only six companies in the United States that relocates libraries with one million or more items. His company has moved the libraries of a number of colleges and universities, including the University of Florida and the University of Kentucky. Lieberwirth said that the period of 20 weekdays when the Middlebury College library transfer will take place will require the company to move approximately 50,000 items a day to stay on schedule.

Prior to the move, Doyle-Wilch notified the campus by e-mail that all books must be returned by May 7. “It’s better to have the books before the move so that the staff doesn’t have to make major adjustments to the books on the new shelves later to create more space,” she said. Library patrons who returned a book by May 7 received a T-shirt with the message “Got Books?” During April and early May, many library employees wore the shirts, but with an additional message on the back that said “Please return your books by May 7.”

To celebrate and kick off the move, the College held an event for students, faculty and staff titled “Move the Books” on Friday, May 7. As part of the festivities, a human chain passed 13 carefully selected, newly purchased books from Old Chapel to the new library to “baptize” the shelves. Different constituencies of the College, ranging from the president to the alumni association, sponsored the selection of each of the 13 books. The symbolic book move took place amid brass fanfare, compliments of the Biblio Tones, an ensemble organized for the occasion by a library employee. Immediately afterward, there was a picnic and performances by the band Green Gold Groove and selected members of Circus Smirkus.

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