Community bands together as temporary Big Piney Library home

Robert Galbreath and Courtesy photos

BIG PINEY – Few people can say they enjoy moving. Imagine relocating an entire library – approximately 25,000 books, plus DVDs, computers, printers, office equipment, shelving, desks, a piano...

Every item had to be removed from the Big Piney Library in preparation for a major renovation.

The library is still open, thanks to dedicated staff and the Big Piney and Marbleton community. The facility is operating out of the Big Piney Recreation Center’s west wing.

Space is a little tighter, and a portion of the collection is in storage. The library is still able to provide many services, from computers with Internet access and printing to children, teen and adult activities.

“It's been quite a monumental task, but the community stepping up to help was amazing,” said Tawnya Miller, Big Piney Library manager.

Genavieve White, programming coordinator at Big Piney, drew a detailed floor plan of the available space in the rec center. This allowed the library to determine how much of the collection could go to the temporary library and what needed to be stored.

Jen Brown, circulation librarian in Big Piney, counted books on the shelves to determine how many would fit in a standard bank box to keep the collection organized, White said. The library ordered 1,000 bank boxes and ended up using all but 50, White added.

The librarians made maximum use of their makeshift library, White explained. She showed the Examiner the DVD collection, video games, children’s books, magazines and Spanish-language books available to patrons at the rec center. Many of the supplies and equipment for children’s programs were also moved to the temporary location.

“The rec center was awesome about sharing space,” White said.

Books in storage will no longer appear on the library’s search engine for the duration of the relocation, said Miller. Big Piney plans to work with the Pinedale Library to share books and Miller said inter-library loans are still available.

The boxes of books in storage are well marked, but with more than 200 boxes of nonfiction books alone spread across Big Piney and Marbleton, it would be “nearly impossible” for librarians to locate a book in storage.

A herculean task

The library faced an uphill battle relocating its entire facility. The books turned out to be the easier part, said Miller, with the shelves, furniture and office equipment taking a significant chunk of time and effort.

True to Puncher form, the community stepped up to make the move possible.

Miller listed a portion of the organizations that volunteered. Big Piney Middle School students arrived to transfer bank boxes filled with books.

The Big Piney Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints young women’s and young men’s organizations showed up three nights to pitch in.

Big Piney High School track coach Jess Nugent brought the entire team to organize space in the rec center. Puncher wrestling coach Cole Clifford and his athletes lent their strength.

Boy Scout Troop No. 22, led by Peter Scherbel and the BPHS Student Council, also logged in hours.

“It’s amazing how much these kids can get done,” Miller said.

Patrons from first grade to retirement age took apart shelves and folded bank boxes, Miller added. Eight organizations and families donated storage space – Cole and Angie Clifford, JL Gray Rock Shop, the Town of Marbleton, Miller Land and Livestock, Alsade Storage, the Green River Valley Museum, the Town of Big Piney and the rec center.

The rec center, GRV Museum and the Town of Big Piney, with Norris Park, provided space for the library's valued children’s programs to continue. Flicks N’ Pins offered room for teen events and the Southwest Sublette County Pioneers Senior Center is hosting adult programs and book signings.

“We want the community to know how much we appreciate their help,” said Miller.

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Robert Galbreath and Courtesy photos

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