Library Carpet Cleaning

Warning – Very Mundane Topic Ahead!

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In my Library Director days, the custodial staff did an fairly good job keeping up with making sure that the floors were cleaned.  We were mostly low-pile commercial carpet and ceramic tile.  When the carpet got overly soiled, we would bring in the name-brand vendor  – to haul in their hoses and ‘steam’ clean the carpet.

Carpet Salesroom

Carpet Salesroom

Although I thought the carpet *must* be clean since ‘steam’ meant that allergens would be neutralized, I was never satisfied with the results.  There were always traffic lane stains, fading and we would have to effectively be shut down while hoses were dragged through the building.  Then, the floors might take several hours to dry, the surface stains that were removed would leech back to the surface, and people walking on the wet floors would leave an even worse cattle trail.  If the carpet did not dry fast enough, there would be a stench.  And, if they used a deodorizer – which they charged extra for – it had a overpowering smell.

I own a floor care company now specializing in commercial carpet, hardwood floors, and ceramic tile. My research into the methods used by the big floor care vendors showed the most customers are not satisfied for the same reasons I articulated above.  The technology being used is based on those companies investing in truck-mounted systems that shoot hot water into the carpet and vacuum it back up again.  They carry around hundreds of gallons of clean and dirty water, heating it on-board and rely on doing the work as quickly as possible to recover their investments.  It *was* state-of-the-art 20 years ago.

But, technology has changed and there is a much better, greener way for you to maintain your floors, keep them clean, neutralize allergens, restore the pile, and allow you to go much, much longer before you ever need to think about replacing your commercial carpet.  The problem is, the big vendors do not promote it because of their on-going investments and it does not seem to offer the same benefits.

Commercial carpet is low-pile and usually stretched then glued down to a floor.  The idea that you would actually ‘steam’ clean effectively is both misleading and a misapplication.  If the water coming through the hoses that are ‘steam’ cleaned was hot enough to qualify as steam, it would melt the glue and cause the carpet to buckle.  In fact, the carpet is not ‘steam’ cleaned, it is simply spray cleaned with what *may* be some fairly hot water and then vacuumed up again.

The appropriate method for cleaning commercial carpet is *low moisture encapsulation* or VLM.   Low moisture encapsulation is done with a random orbital machine with fiber pads followed by a microfiber or terrycloth bonnet.  A sulfactant is applied with the fiber pad along with a polymer.  The sulfactant releases the soil and stains and when the solution dries any remaining soil is bonded to the polymer which becomes brittle and vacuums away – eliminating allergens and other debris from the carpet. House_Dust_Mite In the process I use, the only chemical that requires listing is a small amount of isopropyl alcohol which evaporates away in the process.  It is an excellent, cost effective and green alternative to traditional carpet cleaning.

The result is carpet that is usually completely dry within an hour, can be walked on immediately, stains are gone and do not leech back to the surface, and the pile is raised again – leaving a fresh, clean scent of tea-tree oil.  The carpet actually repels soil and can be maintained at about 92% of its original condition.

Vasnetsov_samoletIf any of you are thinking about replacing your carpets, I highly advise that you first seek out a local vendor that is proficient in VLM (very low moisture).  The cost of cleaning commercial carpet this way is usually 10-15% less than the steam cleaners and the results are extraordinary.  It will save you money and make your library environment much healthier.

The VLM process we use does work and it works very well.  It is simple applied physics and chemistry.  We usually do a free demo to show people how well it works. And, it becomes one of the weirdest spectator sports.  Old stains disappear that no one thinks will go away! We won an award for our application to this twenty-year old carpet in an automobile display area.  They did not believe we could restore it:

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Publib Topics – A Graphic Retrospective – August 2011

Beware Graphic Content Ahead!

 
 This graphic image  or word cloud was created using Wordle. It is derived from the subjects and authors of postings in PubLib for August 2011. The size of the graphics is directly related to the number of un-weighted unique occurrences each month of the individual words represented. Most automated graphic processes that generate these types of word clouds use additional weight for H1 – H6 tags through feeds. These graphics are not processed with H1 – H6 tags. The titles and authors were copied to Notepad and stripped of all HTML before being run through the Wordle Java platform. The process is case-sensitive so Library is not the same thing as library.
 
The most prominent word without employing filters would have been Publib. Publib and Fwd were deleted from the plaintext files before processing. In addition, the Wordle program automatically disregards articles, conjunctions, and prepositions.
 
 
Publib Topics August 2011

Publib Topics August 2011

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Archives compiled after Dec. 7, 2011 are available here: Archives

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Tea Parties and Terabytes : the Digital Library Revolution

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Tea Parties and  Terabytes  : the Digital Library Revolution

Tea Party

A few months ago on Publib , I entertained the idea of replacing a brick and mortar library with electronic book readers and subscriptions.

Our local free library had spent about $8,000,000 on a library renovation / reconstruction employing grants, local taxes, donations and state funds.  Notably, it had started out being about a 4 million dollar project.   What would 8 million dollars along with yearly operating funds  purchase now?  Could the needs of library users be met with electronic book readers and subscriptions?  Could accessibility be expanded?  

Asking those questions met with sharp disapproval from the librarian in Rhode Island who had overseen the project. She characterized me as a tea bagger – (derogatory slang meaning Tea Party member) for daring to bring up the idea.   At least I think that was what she meant.  The Urban Dictionary has some other definitions that are not very nice.

I'm late !

Why would entertaining a simple idea of how  8 million dollars could have been spent create such a visceral reaction? Public libraries represent the most efficient aspect of local government.  Hardly any library system is a  beneficiary of public largess.  The entire loosely affiliated public library system in the United States is efficient because of internalized ethics, highly trained personnel and sharing.  Sharing resources means everyone benefits.  Sharing is something other public services have never done as well as public libraries. Are public libraries in such precarious shape that civil discourse threatens libraries as the bastions of civil discourse?  Is time running out? Are we too late?

Imagine no brick and mortar library exists.  What sort of digital book access could an initial 8 million dollar investment and a yearly operating  budget of $480,000  afford?  …

$8,000,000  could buy:

 Amazon Kindle . . . . . . . . 57,553 units retail    at $139 each or
 Sony eBook Reader . . . .  62,015 units retail    at $129 each or
 Barnes & Noble Nook . . . 53,691 units retail    at $149 each 

 A $480,000 operating budget could purchase:

Lots of electronic books. The cost of many titles through Amazon’s Kindle program is $9.99 or less. So, yearly new ebook accession could be greater than or equal to 48,000 titles. That seems like a fairly small collection to support sixty thousand ebook readers

The 60,000 ebook readers could also be shared within households. With  2.59 people on average per household – 155,400 people would be sharing only 48,000 titles.  That is less than 1/3 of a book simultaneously available to all readers at once during the first year.

But wait, there’s more, terabytes more:

Amazon also provides Kindle Popular Classics with almost instantaneous free access to over 15,000 books.

Project Gutenberg provides Free eBooks with over 33,000  titles.

The Internet Archive provides free access to massive collections .

The Google Books project also provides free access to terabytes of text and images and is partnering with major libraries around the world.

Digital collections such as the Perseus Project   and Lincolniana at Brown offer a vast wealth of specialized subject matter.

The United States Government along with State and Local Governments are providing more and more public information in digital format.

So, what does that mean?

60,000 households could each have immediately access to hundreds of thousands of free books and articles and increasing access to new books and articles. 

But what about catalogs and reader services?  Doesn’t everyone need catalog help? These collections are HUGE!

The Library of Congress is the largest library in the United States.  The Library of Congress Catalog is massive and serves as the expert resource for copyright.  The Librarians who staff the Library of Congress are some of the most highly compensated in the US. 

Which catalog is intuitively better?

Library of Congress Catalog search:

Here is the output in basic search for the word balliot:   http://bit.ly/fCXAnh

Select item 2 –  CONVAL Report:  http://bit.ly/ijNORk

Using the same search strategy in Google Books:

Here is the output in basic search for the word balliot:    http://bit.ly/faHnAT

Select item 1 – CONVAL Report:  http://bit.ly/gUPu1v

It is even intuitively easier to search within  Library of Congress collections using Google Books full text.  LC requires a copy submitted to them when they formally copyright.  

Full- text of the Copyright Catalog available within Google and not within the LC catalog:  http://bit.ly/gzJf7S  provides reference pointers to LC’s collection.

The HELIN  Library Catalog employs  III encore software and includes: Brown University, Bryant University, Community College of Rhode Island, Dominican House of Studies, Hospital Libraries of Rhode Island, Johnson & Wales University, Providence College, Rhode Island College, Roger Williams University, Salve Regina University, University of Rhode Island, and Wheaton College holdings.

Which catalog is more helpful? 

Here is  HELIN‘s output searching for the phrase Windows Forensic Analysis DVD Toolkit, Second Edition:   http://bit.ly/g8mOa0

Here is Amazon‘s output searching for the phrase Windows Forensic Analysis DVD Toolkit, Second Edition: http://amzn.to/gBpxkZ

Encore tells us that we should use other words and check our spelling. It offers no leads to additional material.  Amazon provided the book, the electronic version, reviews, shots of inside pages and related works.  Some library catalogs intergrate similar features in the user interface, but they are not leading the way.  They are merely following the examples of successful for-profit library catalogs that only recently began to market books.

The Digital Library Revolution

 $8,ooo,ooo in construction expenditures and a $480,000 yearly budget represents the real-world costs of operating a public library in a community with about 22,000 residents and a fairly small collection.  Using the revolutionary digital library model presented here, the same funds would support 155,400  people in 60,000 households while providing instant access to terabytes of digitized collections.
 
The digital library revolution is a radical departure from the way that library materials are contained, published and distributed. Instead of allowing public libraries to disappear from the conversation,  civil discourse should continue that includes public libraries as significant partners and facilitators in the evolution of this digital library revolution.  It is not too late.
 

 “But I don’t want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked.
“Oh, you can’t help that,” said the Cat: “we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.”
“How do you know I’m mad?” said Alice.
“You must be,” said the Cat, “or you wouldn’t have come here.” ~ Lewis Carroll

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