Good Neighbors

Community Members Form Human Chain to Move Library Books

How a community used some impressive teamwork to help their library relocate thousands of books.


The Norman Public Library in Oklahoma saved on moving costs last weekend when local residents formed a human chain to help move books from the old location to a new building. The chain stretched from the doors of the Norman Public Library Central, across a park, over two roads and a parking lot, and ended at the doors of the new facility.

The chain of several hundred people is called a "book brigade," and apparently they've been used to move books from old to new libraries for many years.

The community has held brigades before at other locations, so it was relatively easy for the Pioneer Library System to set up another one to help move books.

"Everyone's really invested in both the old building and they're getting invested in the new building, so we thought this would be a great way to marry the two buildings and let everyone get involved in a safe way," Tara McLeod, the children's services manager at the new location told the Norman Transcript . "This is a fun event to make memories."

The human chain was made up of people both young and old, some who have been visiting the library for decades.

"I've been going to the Central Library for about 41, 42 years, and I'm sad to see the old building go, but it was important to me to do the passing of the torch, basically," longtime Norman resident Trisha Hill said. "I didn't want to miss it for anything."

As toddlers, grandparents and everyone in between moved the books along, they would stop and comment on their favorites as they passed through their hands. Someone had the great idea to secure a GoPro camera to one of the books to capture each person's expression as it moved along the line.

A grand opening and ribbon cutting for the new library will take place on November 3rd. The library system purchased 50,000 new items for the new, three-story building and they're adding study areas, a technology hub with 3D printing equipment and a children's story time section.

While everyone was excited to get a glimpse of the brand new facility, some of the residents' reactions were bittersweet.

"My whole life I've spent in Norman going to that library," one resident said. "I will miss it, but this is beautiful and amazing, and I'm just excited about it."

(Images & video c/o Pioneer Library System )

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