Reduce, reuse, recycle and repurpose

One of the advantages of being on a tight budget with constraints, as I’ve written about before, is that it forces one into being thrifty and eco-conscious.  I just wanted to say a few words here about ways in which we managed to employ the 4R’s in our library renovation.

Library shelving is very very expensive. And there is a reason for this – it has to withstand a lot of wear and tear, be constantly shifted around and then

there is the question of load bearing (something our designers didn’t always take into account). Bottom line, we basically had to make do with most of the shelving we already had, and reuse it.  Not all of it was in great condition. So as part of the design brief we asked the contractor to refurbish the broken bits by re-lamination. Unfortunately this is not a very ‘sexy’ part of a renovation project, and we’re still chasing up on bits and pieces that need to be done! Most of it is looking pretty good though.

The green chairs were donated to us from our other campus, and the black shelving, and some other shelving that didn’t fit into the new design were donated by us to other classrooms and campus areas that needed it.

Other little things – our “fiction” etc. signs had a green border that looked out of place with the rebranding, so we just got some black electrical tape and taped over the green, so it looks black now. The non-glass doors got a new layer of paint, and larger glass pane windows.

The shelving above that used to hold picture books now is part of the junior section (I wanted more front facing space for our early chapter books to make them more enticing) so we inserted an extra shelf to each row to accommodate smaller books and the boxes in series.  One of our trolleys got donated to the IT department and the oldest saddest one got a new lick of paint in the same grey colour of our doors (part of the new branding) and looks just great now! The red plastic baskets found a new home in a classroom and was replaced by a wicker basket while we wait for the drop box to be completed. All our weeded books went to the PTA for their second-hand sale. And our old VCR boxes are still in use as alphabet markers in smaller collections – like Chinese fiction.

At the end of the day, besides the old tile carpeting in fact, very little ended up in the scrap heap. In fact many people when they come in have to ask what is actually new, because while everything looks new and different and lighter, they still recognise bits and pieces from the past.  I don’t think that’s a bad thing.



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