Books on the move

Hannah Orlove is a freelancer in The Scholastic Library & Archive, helping with the massive renovation project that we are doing this summer. She grew up in California, received her library science degree in Pittsburgh, and now lives and works in New York City. She has managed cemetery records, repaired books, and cared for vultures.

Every book you forgot you loved is down here. Scholastic’s on-site archive holds copies of everything that’s come out of the publishing house, whether it’s a Harry Potter paperback or a classroom poster, going as far back as the 1890s. The SoHo sub-basement is a treasure trove of wonderful things, with its shelves stuffed to bursting – which is why all of the duplicates, books and otherwise, are being prepared for transferal to long-term offsite storage, and high-density rolling shelves are being installed. Out of the total number of 175,506 items, 153,615 are being moved. All by hand.

The variety of items archived ranges from the aforementioned books and posters to sticker sheets, teaching kits, textbooks, vinyl EPs, cassettes and CDs and DVDs and VHS tapes, DIY kits for hair-braiding and juggling, classroom magazines and scholarly journals and Scholastic book club flyers.

Down in the archives, there are wizards, babysitters, magic school buses, big red dogs, little houses, fairies, dragons, unicorns, mouse detectives, middle school heroes, adventures for your own choosing, tigers and toboggans and little red wagons, hunger games and secret princesses, mermaids, dinosaurs, a crash course in the development of educational theory during the 20th century, scientists, presidents, poets, dust, and not nearly enough time to read it all. Not when everything’s got to be inventoried and prepared for the big move!

But there is time for you to take a moment to walk through the stacks, to remember, and to smile.

The Guide to the Creation of King Kong has lesson plans and worksheets, and when you unfold the guide completely it opens up to a full color poster. The picture of books stacked horizontally shows the duplicates found on each shelf that are going to be placed in acid-free boxes in the next few weeks.