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The Library At Rancho Obi-Wan

Posted By Jay on March 31, 2011

In honor of Steve Sansweet's last week at Lucasfilm, and also due to the fact that I'm finally sorting thru my images from my trip earlier this year. I'd like to present a small photo essay of the Library at Rancho Obi-Wan.

The Purpose
Steve had been asking me for a few years to come out and help him get his library in order. I was finally able to find some time earlier this year to do just that. His library was just part of the clean-up effort that is underway at the Rancho, as he works to upgrade and improve the property, but that's a tale for another day. I was tasked with helping to get some new shelves set up in the room next to the original library (which had just been cleared of all sorts of boxes), organize and expand the library into the new shelves, and take all the books, magazines and comics that were laying around and put them into shelves, boxes and possibly storage. Needless to say, not a small task. Above are some images of the Library when I found it. Besides the piles of books, comics and magazines on the short shelves in the middle of the room, the back and sides had dozens of boxes of 'stuff' that had not yet been moved. There was also a number of framed images from the Art Gallery that were making a temporary home here as well.

Books Piled High Some of the Boxes to move! The boxes that were moved!! Building the shelves.

The Prep
The first order of business was to move the silver boxes of comics and magazines out of the library into the old art gallery space. Anne, Steve's archivist and former Rebelscum.com team member, indicated that over 600 (!!) boxes were moved previously. That made that 52 boxes or so that I moved look pretty small in comparison. There were also 26 banker boxes of books and other stuff to sort through while the shelving in the new 'wing' was finished up.

Having gone thru the boxes, and making some interesting finds (see 'The Finds,' below), it was time to clear off the existing shelf in the new wing, move it out and get the new ones in place. So when all was said and done, the new wing has 12 new shelves in it and is waiting for only 7 more.

Bonus Points for ID'ing the movie on the computer!

The Moving, part 1
Luckily it was grey and rainy most of the time I was there, making me want to stay inside! The first task was to start moving the largest of the foreign titles out of the original wing and into the new wing. The UK, France and Japan were definitely the biggest countries. I used stickies on all the shelves to help decide what should go where. I did end up leaving a few foreign titles in the original space. This also allowed me to get a number of the foreign titles that were stacked on the center shelving unit out of the way and be able to use that as a staging unit.

Pete Vilmur, author of The Star Wars Poster Book and content manager at StarWars.com stopped by one day and helped out. I showed him what we were doing and he helped move shelf, after shelf of material from one room to the next. It probably took a good two days of work to get things set up and moved, and arrange all of the foreign items in their new home.

The Moving, part 2
The next two days consisted of spreading out the American books, adjusting shelves, and filing away (and in some cases cataloging) all the new items that were piling up the only open space. As that got cleared away, the central shelving area made a great staging space for my work. It allowed me to pull the contents off one shelf, marvel at the titles, and then put them back on another shelf intact.

The final touch that I was able to make was going through the titles and updating the Jedi Journals database. I wanted to make the information about what titles are available, more complete. These updates haven't made their way online yet, but they will shortly.

Original (Mis)Printing of Complete Vader Jimmy Mac CD and Fanzines Original Script - Holiday Special Mitch Hallock of IndyCast

The Finds
As an aside, there were some great things discovered on my trip to Rancho Obi-Wan. You never know what you'll find there! It might be an original printing of The Complete Vader on a shelf (new printing due Fall 2011), or opening a box and finding a CD from Jimmy Mac of the Forcecast that was sent in, mixed in with a bunch of old fan-zines (Pete Vilmur, a collector of any type of printed material, found one he had never seen when I showed him the box! Pete was really taken by this particular fanzine because it includes a very retro Clone Wars story, and he's planning to do a feature about it on the Star Wars website.). There were also editions of books I never knew existed (a leather bound library edition of The Complete Visual Dictionary!) Even some original brass plates for creating the embossed cover of the Starlog Technical Journal. Also found a wet Mitchell Hallock from the IndyCast on site for a quick tour!

Jay-Casta Nu in his element! Jay and Steve relax.

The Closing
I'd like to thank Steve, not only for being an ambassador to Star Wars fans over the last 15 years, but for being a great friend and welcoming me into his home and allowing me to fiddle about with his books. It was a blast and I can't wait to get back to tackle the comics section in about 5 more years!!

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