Construction Update (Week 4)

Despite the slowed progress from the coronavirus, the construction continues. An initial five-day week was whittled down to three, but much was accomplished nonetheless. First was the electrical wiring, which, combined with the labor costs, came to ¥320,000. One nice thing is that a few weeks prior, we got to decide where we’d like all the lights and outlets. We included a few electrical outlets underneath the book shelves and a couple in the floor which will be positioned underneath the study tables for easy use.

Spread over a couple days, this week also saw the first installations of bookshelves! For the first time, I really felt like, “Wow, this is a library!” The pictures below show the shelving on the north- and south-facing walls. In addition to these, there will also be a stand-alone shelf on the north side, and shelves below the front windows. One side under the windows (which you can see a little in the picture second to the right) was completed along with one shoe box (靴箱) for storing shoes. The library itself will be a no-shoe zone. Since we won’t have any full-time librarians, nor will there be any designated janitors, this will hopefully go a long way in helping to keep the space clean.

The bookshelves are made from cedar (48 boards (30mm thick, 29cm width, 400cm length) x ¥6,000 each = ¥288,000), which is naturally acidic, so I’ve been looking around for effective ways to cover the wood to prevent discoloring of the books. I found some good advice here and here, but I’m not sure if I should settle for some sort of shelf liners or acid-free boards or paper to line the shelves as some kind of varnish may do the trick (as discussed here). Varnish would be cheaper, and easier to “install”. I’ll include this in a later update.

Lastly, the outer wall received its insulation (断熱材/ロックウール), which doubles as sound proofing as well. The library is on a busy main road, so this ought to help keep the peace on the inside.