Thursday, August 11, 2016

Throwback Thursday: Library Flood!

Did you know that librarians fear water damage more than they do fires? It's true. A collection of books can usually hold up to fire for a short time with minimal damage; the pages are packed so tightly together on the shelves that the paper doesn't catch easily or burn quickly. (Next time you have a campfire, twist some newspaper tightly and see how much longer it burns than a loose sheet.) Some good vacuuming, airing out, and occasional rebinding can often recover a collection after a small fire in the building.

Water, however, is a different story.

Archives materials spread out to dry

Water leads to warped pages, running ink, and, worst of all-- mold. Mold is the death knell for a book.

The SHU Archives used to be located downstairs in Reeves, where the Oversize books and the 800s-900s and CDs live now. In Summer 2007, the first floor flooded!

We don't have any pictures of the actual water because we were too busy moving materials to higher ground (we were wading through water up above our ankles in many places). But we do have some photos of the aftermath.

Public Services Librarian Kelly Clever checking on the air circulation

Note the box fan

These photos were taken on the first floor of Reeves. The present-day LECOM library and the O'Hara Room used to be one large room where we kept all of the print journals and magazines. You can see the print indexes on the wooden shelving above, and the bound journals are in the background on the metal shelving. We had hundreds of subscriptions and kept decades of back issues for many of them!

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