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Guide to moving books for your library

The iconic Stephen King once wrote that “books are a uniquely portable magic.” You can take these alternative worlds on a bus, plane, or train. They nestle perfectly in your pockets and backpacks.

The love of books often starts with that first trip to the library. From there, you could enjoy your portable worlds at the park or under the covers with a flashlight.

Books are precious cargo. That’s why libraries have lots of moving tips and tricks up their sleeves.

Whether you’re a city librarian or run a private library of your own, you don’t want to miss these tips for moving books to your new location.

Get Organized

Is your library or private collection overflowing with books you don’t need? Are you lost as to where to start? Before you move anything, get organized ASAP.

Not all libraries are made alike. If your library has a particular focus, like children’s books or botanical books, start there. Go through your collection’s inventory and take note of the books you want to take with you to the new location.

Make a list of titles and themes you don’t want anymore, so you can put those books aside for storage, book sales, and donations. This is also an excellent opportunity to fish out damaged books that are decaying on the shelves. Designate separate containers and Gaylord boxes for discarded books, and put those to the side.

If you don’t have a book database already, now is an excellent time to start. When you’re juggling thousands of books, great titles can slip through the cracks.

Assign each book a barcode and print out barcode stickers to match. This is essential for all libraries, both big and small.

This way, you can scan your books into the database with a retail scanner. Scan and separate books as you go, discarding unwanted books to the side.

In your database, include the book title, author, year of publication, and genre. If you have multiple libraries in the city, include the address of the book’s location, as well.

Choose a Storage Option

If you’re moving a substantial number of books, you’re going to need a reliable storage option.

A nearby storage facility is your best bet. Try to find one close to your new library location. It will be much easier to transport your books back and forth.

Storage units are cost-effective, ranging anywhere from $40 to $100, depending on the size of your unit. If you want to save money on monthly storage costs, choose the least expensive option, and make the most out of your space.

Storage units are also ideal for storing bookshelves, tables, computer desks, chairs, reading couches, artwork, artifacts, and other large items from your library.

Keep long-term storage items toward the back of the unit. To avoid damage, cover old books and objects with a plastic tarp or moving blankets. Smaller items, like paperback books and audiobooks, should be kept upfront.

Storage items are generally inexpensive and convenient. However, it’s crucial to cut costs when you can. You could store items at your other locations or use a house garage for short-term storage as you move.

Have a Book Sale

Do you have too many books on your hands? This is the perfect time to hold that book sale. The less you have to move, the easier your library move will be.

A book sale is a wonderful way to get rid of unwanted items and fundraise for your library. Any books that don’t sell can be donated to local churches, non-profit thrift stores, schools, and other libraries.

Price your unwanted books low to sell them off quick. You’re going to attract a lot of used booksellers to your sale, and they’re looking for a decent ROI.

So which books should you sell?

Start with old books with ripped covers and torn pages. Old books with outdated information are good candidates as well. If you have several copies of the same title, you could probably spare a few.

You’ll need to advertise if you want to sell your books fast. Use a sandwich board and place it on the corner of your street. You can also advertise on your website, Craigslist, social media, flyers, and local sites.

Pack Up Your Boxes

Now that’s you’ve gotten rid of some books, it’s time to back up the rest for moving and storage!

Not just any cardboard box is sufficient. Use sturdy boxes, containers, Gaylord boxes, and palettes. Even used Gaylord boxes are better than new flimsy boxes!

To save money on boxes, check out local grocery stores and retail shops for used boxes. Ask around your neighborhood and business community. You could also try the Gaylord box exchange to find sturdy used boxes.

Separating your books will make this process a lot easier. Create separate piles for the following items:

  • Paperback books
  • Pocket-sized books
  • Hardcovers
  • Oversized books (like atlases)
  • Magazines
  • Audiobooks
  • DVDs, cassettes, and VHS tapes

When packing, put large and bulky items on the bottom and place small and lighter books on top. Be careful about the weight, and use your leg muscles to lift boxes up from the ground. The last thing you want is to throw out your back!

Consider a Moving Company

Every penny counts when you’re running a library, but the right investments can go a long way. If you have a lot of items to move, you may want to hire a professional moving company to help you.

Professional movers are helpful when you don’t have enough people to help. Furthermore, you don’t run the risk of throwing out your back. Movers can also pack up your books quicker and move them faster to your new location.

In fact, a moving company can shave several days off your move, which leaves more time to set up your new location.

Start Moving Books without the Stress

You love books, not moving them! Follow these tips and tricks to start moving books with ease. And keep this guide on-hand for your next big library move.

Do you need more life hacks to simplify your life and business? Check back often for the latest tips for Arizona residents and business owners.

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