Sometimes, you have to strip away the old before you can build the new. That’s our theme this week, as we bring you dramatic photos of the latest demolition and construction in Hale Library.
To help give you a sense of the site of our first photos, the jagged red spot above marks the location of the fire.
Today, if you enter Historic Farrell Library’s third floor and stand on the false floor built on top of the scaffolding that fills the Great Room, like Associate Dean Mike Haddock did recently, you can see that spot.
The Great Room murals are covered by the plywood boxes with peaked roofs, which you see in the photo above. The attic space where the fire burned is directly above and behind them.
Up close, you can see that the debris has been cleared away. Through the holes in the attic floor you look down into the Academic Learning Center (ALC) where the student athletes met for study tables. ALC staff members were the ones who first smelled the smoke, even before the fire alarms went off.
While the charred walls are a clear mark of the destruction, this also serves to illustrate that the actual fire was contained to one location. The vast majority of the damage was from smoke and water.
But enough destruction for today’s post.
How about some demolition? In Hale Library as we knew it, there were a lot of stairwells–many of them in tucked-away corners of the building that weren’t highly trafficked. They took up prime real estate, so in our renovation, we’re reclaiming the stairway highlighted in purple above.
Before we can renovate, though, it has to be demolished. It might not look very innovative right now, but workers have jack-hammered away concrete to clear away space for the Innovation Center on Hale Library’s first and second floors.
After the concrete was hauled out, crews used blowtorches to disassemble the frames of the metal staircases.
Here you can see that the demolition has cleared out the stairs between third and fourth floor. As of today, that entire stairwell has been emptied. Progress!
So, Associate Dean Mike Haddock (who takes 97% of the amazing photos we bring you) is back. The map below shows the northwest corner of the first floor. Mike, as represented by the small purple man, is standing in Historic Farrell Library’s Room 117, and the rectangles highlighted in pink represent shafts (called “chases,” in construction parlance) that extend
through the building from the first floor up to the fourth.
This is what Mike sees when he turns and faces east-north-east toward Willard Hall and Mid-Campus Drive.
If he turns to face south, he sees a wall of Room 117 opposite the large bank of windows looks like this:
For most of us, the exciting part of construction comes when you get to look at the shiny, clean end product. We’re not there yet, but there’s really important work going on now so that the new Hale Library’s infrastructure can support all of those shiny, clean new spaces, like the previously mentioned Innovation Center.
Case in point regarding infrastructure: The steel beam over the doorway in the photo above is new reinforcement.
If we were to walk through that doorway, you’d find the chases that are highlighted in pink on the floor plan above. On second, third and fourth floors, guardrails have been built around those chases for safety, since they’re essentially like an open elevator shaft.
Over the last month, workers have been installing ductwork wrapped in insulation into those chases. The ductwork runs through the building from top to bottom.
This is just some of the construction work on Hale Library’s infrastructure. With improvements like these in place, the building will have improved air quality and more efficient heating and cooling.
Progress is happening. It’s not shiny and clean, but it’s important work that will take us one step forward to our new Hale Library.
As always, if you have questions about the process, please comment on the blog post or contact us at email@example.com!
To all of our student and faculty readers, happy spring break! We won’t be posting next week, but we’ll be back on March 19.
The K-State Libraries employee award ceremony on March 27, 2019, will be especially meaningful. We don’t often come together to recognize our peers’ hard work, both pre- and post-fire, since we’re spread out over a dozen different campus locations.
The Dean’s Award is one of three employee awards that will be presented that afternoon. It’s given annually to a non-tenure track professional who has been with the Libraries for at least two years.
Here are this year’s nominees, as described by their nominators:
Alice can resolve any and all technical questions about LibGuides, RefWorks and Canvas. Her depth of knowledge is amazing.
Alice’s work on LibGuides makes it easier for us to keep them up-to-date and functioning smoothly. She responds to questions quickly and follows up in person to resolve any related issues. In addition, her initiative to add default LibGuides links to Canvas class sites is awesome. Her efforts make library resources much easier to find for students who may not take the initiative to proactively seek our help.
A year ago, patrons were having a very difficult time with RefWorks citation records from a specific source. She dug into the problem and realized the metadata practices of the creator weren’t interfacing well with RefWorks. As a result, we were able to advise students and instructors in that field to be aware of the problem and follow up accordingly.
Allyssa oversees the hiring, training, scheduling, and evaluations for 12 student workers who collectively cover 77 hours of desk time per week. Her communication skills and her exceptional training program have been instrumental in the success of our services. Last summer Allyssa worked to launch a Peer Research Consultant program to provide K-State students with access to one-on-one research help that funnels into the more advanced assistance offered by our Academic Services Librarians. Her work with the PRCs has transformed the ability and aspirations of the four students who became consultants.
In addition, Allyssa is an outstanding writer, teacher, researcher, and leader. Her professionalism and high expectations for service quality have been instrumental to our ability to provide outstanding help to patrons throughout several migrations of our main service desk and changes in our staffing model.
Kathy has been coordinator since spring 2018. She worked hard to plan the unit’s move to a new office inside of hale library. A few short weeks after the move was complete, the fire changed everything. Kathy worked many late nights and on weekends to ensure that patrons would still be able to obtain the articles and books that were essential to their publications, teaching and grants.
While managing constant changes in the aftermath of the fire, Kathy saw opportunity to improve the user experience. She modified request forms to provide users with control over which items would be delivered to which locations. She and her team worked hard to keep up with demand; at the same time, she introduced enhancements such as a pilot project that delivered physical loans to department offices. Kathy’s expertise, kindness, and strong work ethic are a major part of K-State Libraries’ success.
After the fire, Renée worked tirelessly to keep everyone’s computer access up and running, which in turn allowed everyone to continue the critical tasks related to restoring library services. Imaging 125 machines in less than a day to get new computers up and running is a monumental task for any group… The amount of organization that it took to do that job within that timeframe is beyond most things I have ever witnessed.
In addition, two full-time employees left at the same time this summer. Renée pushed forward with a group of student workers and prepared LIST for more change and the onboarding of two new full-time employees. When her new employees arrived, everything was ready for them. In short, Renée is the glue for the Library Information and Support for Technology (LIST) unit and invaluable to the Libraries as a whole.
Tara is incredibly organized and productive. She’s also a reliable, patient coworker. She consistently produces creative, beautiful, effective designs.
Sometimes projects shift and Tara has to scrap something she’s worked hard on and start from scratch, but she never misses a beat. She goes back to the drawing board and comes up with something even more amazing than her initial design.
For example, the summer magazine was ready to go to press in late May. In fact, it would have been sent to the printer the week the fire happened. An entire completed issue had to be put on hold so we could create a new version that covered the fire and its aftermath. Tara was unfazed, and her output for the special issue about the Hale Library fire was a case study in great storytelling through design.
Sarah is one of the hardest working, productive employees I know. She juggles multiple duties and produces more content than most people probably realize. Additionally, she is an extremely talented writer and storyteller. Sarah’s story about the fire in the last issue of the Libraries Magazine is a prime example of her talent.
After the fire, Sarah took on the responsibility of managing and creating the content for the Hale Library blog. The blog has been key in our ability to communicate in a timely manner, and it was a lot of work, especially in the first few months. She was posting two stories a week in an environment where accuracy was vital, but information could change by the hour. As other work has returned to “normal” Sarah has continued producing the blog while managing her already full workload.
Kathryn’s leadership and dedication after the fire made the difference between setting us on a path to a successful recovery or not. Her years of unsung work on the Libraries’ Collection Disaster Plan paid incredible dividends. Having the plan and the various relationships in place meant the Libraries were able to move quickly to address the perils Hale’s collections were in as the air conditioning, electricity, telecommunications and other basic building services failed.
More than one party outside of the Libraries commented how well we were coping. Much of the credit should go to Kathryn. While the scale of our disaster was (and still is) daunting, her plan made it less so and gave the impression we had everything figured out.
Kathryn’s follow-through was vital given the level of detail involved in packing out and mapping the removal of over 1.5 million items from Hale Library.
On Feb. 13, 2019, architects from PGAV joined K-State Libraries all-staff meeting to discuss next steps for the Hale Library renovation.
The key take-away: Construction on most of the first floor has been scheduled. Meanwhile, designs for floors two through five are under development.
So in relation to the graphic above, we are at the end of Stage 3 when it comes to the first floor, and between Stages 1 and 2 for the other floors of the building.
Who are the architects in charge of this process? PGAV is based in Prairie Village, Kan., and they’ve worked on the design of more than 25 libraries, archives and special collections facilities in the last several decades.
In their work on Hale Library, PGAV has helped establish this timeline for target reopening dates:
Portions of first floor: Fall 2019
Second and fifth floor: Spring 2020
Third and fourth floors: Fall 2020
Historic Farrell Library, all floors: Late 2020/early 2021
Note that Farrell Library, the 1927 portion of the building that includes the Great Room, will open last: The plaster walls are still wet, and plaster dries very slowly. The process can’t be rushed if the integrity of the material is going to remain intact. The historic conservation of the Great Room murals and the woodwork is also very complicated.
But rest assured that the new Hale Library will incorporate the things that K-State students ask for most. We’ve spent nine months in concert with PGAV and the university community to develop spaces that fill a wide variety of needs.
Here are just a few of those desires as expressed by K-State students:
For years, noise complaints have been one of the top issues reported to the Hale Library Help Desk. Third floor was the quiet floor, but because of the way sound traveled through the building, it was never truly quiet.
Now we have the opportunity to rezone Hale Library’s noise levels: In the renovated building, first and second floors will be the most active and bustling. Third floor will be quiet, with some talking allowed, while fourth floor will be the place to go for really intense quiet. That means students like Nick might want to try a big table on third floor for an optimal study experience.
One of Hale Library’s amenities that students say they miss most since the fire is the white boards. They were always in high demand—which also meant we had to replace them frequently.
In the new building, students like Erin will have plenty of white board options to choose from. In fact, Hale Library will have entire walls covered in white boards, including long stretches on first and second floor. Those walls will be punctuated by strips of limestone that offer a glimpse of the 1955 addition’s exterior that was covered in subsequent expansions.
Hale Library spaces were repurposed multiple times over the years. In the most recent iteration, the first and second floors of Historic Farrell Library housed collections and office cubicles. That meant that the larger K-State community rarely had the opportunity to appreciate the gorgeous natural light and architectural details in those spaces.
In the renovated 1927 building, the first and second floors will be converted into public gathering spots featuring some of our high-use collections like juvenile literature. They will also be outfitted with plenty of soft seating and tables so students like Carlie can study in a room flooded with natural light.
Another retrofit: When the 1997 Hale Library renovation occurred, no one could have predicted how high the demand for outlets would be 30 years later: Today’s students want to charge their laptops and phones while studying. Since the entire building has to be rewired, we will be able to increase the number of outlets in Hale Library exponentially!
First-year students like Jacob haven’t ever experienced Hale Library. When it reopens, one of the major new improvements will be the reservable rooms that will accommodate groups of all sizes.
In fact, the first floor, which reopens in fall 2019, will feature at least a dozen of these spaces, and more will be spread throughout the building. Students will finally have a private spot equipped with video technology to practice presentations, conduct interviews and meet with study groups.
These are just a few of the types of improvements we’ve been planning with PGAV, and we look forward to featuring progress on construction of these spaces in the coming months.
Every spring, three K-State Libraries awards honor individuals who have made outstanding contributions to our organization. Since so many folks went above and beyond the call of duty following the fire, the employee awards ceremony this spring will be especially meaningful.
The recipient of these awards—one each for a faculty member, a professional staff member, and an university support staff member—has their name added to a plaque and is presented with $1,000.
The University Support Staff of the Year award, which has been presented since 1983, is generously sponsored by the Friends of the K-State Libraries. We are proud to introduce our three nominees for the University Support Staff of the Year. All three of them experienced big changes in their jobs after the fire, and all three remain resilient, patient and hard-working.
Jesica Sellers works in building services. When we were located in Hale Library, her work included addressing building maintenance issues, setting up rooms for events and meetings and coordinating mail delivery.
Without Hale, Jesica’s job has changed a lot, and tasks like mail delivery have become more complicated. For example, she works with half a dozen students and their shifting schedules to make sure the Libraries’ staff receives mail in ten different buildings spread across the K-State campus.
Her nominator said, “Jes listens to others’ ideas and problems and tries to find solutions that work for everyone. When it came to figuring out the new mail delivery schedule, she was patient and made sure we understood the limitations the Libraries were facing due to the fire, but she also listened to what we needed. Jes consistently performs her job efficiently and well.”
The process of keeping track of millions of items in a library collection falls to the folks who manage the metadata, including copy catalogers like Raymond Deiser. Raymond has several cataloging specializations at K-State Libraries, including government documents and maps. He also helps with music cataloging.
Like all of the other copy catalogers post-fire, Raymond spends at least two days each week at the K-State Libraries Annex, which is located near the Manhattan Regional Airport. As our books and other items that were in the fire are cleaned, as many as possible are being ingested into the Annex so they can be checked out again. First, though, the catalogers have to prepare each item’s catalog record, which is a big job when you’re processing thousands of items.
Raymond is also the unit’s in-house expert on Alma, the cloud-based library services platform we use to manage our collection and the way our users find what they need through our website.
“Raymond’s knowledge is indispensable for all of us,” his nominator said. “He is also very polite, gracious, and kind. Since he joined the library, I’ve been impressed by his work every day.”
Marcia Eaton works in interlibrary loan services (ILS), and they have been even more in-demand than usual following the fire. When K-State Libraries doesn’t own the materials our community members need, ILS borrows the materials for them from other libraries around the country.
Since most of our physical collection is boxed up and in storage, it’s unsurprising that the number of borrowing requests has skyrocketed. Marcia’s hard work, diligence, and positive attitude greatly contributed to Interlibrary Services being able to handle the increased demand for loans and articles after the fire.
Marcia began the year as the sole lender in Interlibrary Services. After the fire she switched to working full-time in borrowing.
Her nominator said, “Marcia jumped in with both feet and a great attitude, quickly learning the basics and then taking on other duties. She is an extremely dedicated worker who always strives to provide excellent service to other libraries and to K-State patrons. Marcia leaves no stone unturned in attempting to locate requested materials.”
Congratulations, Jes, Raymond and Marcia!
We look forward to introducing the other award nominees and announcing the winners in the coming weeks.
At our recent all staff meeting, Associate Dean Mike Haddock gave the K-State Libraries team a run-down on the latest happenings inside Hale Library. So, as we’re lining up at the starting line for our massive first floor renovation project this spring, we wanted to give you an idea of where things stand.
Starting on the ground floor: The first floor is finally clean, so the plastic sheeting that divided the space into sections has left the building. Now, first floor looks…. a lot like the other big, empty, clean expanses on second, third and fourth floors.
There’s a little more action on the ground floor of the 1927 portion of Hale Library, where crews are removing sea foam green paint from the plaster work.
Removing the paint will aid in drying the plaster, which is still retaining moisture from the water that poured through Historic Farrell Library during the fire.
This space, Room 117, used to be packed with a lot of shelving, and except for a small group of devotees who flocked to the dozen or so tables that lined the room, few people knew about it. Once it’s renovated, Room 117 will be home to our juvenile literature and curriculum materials collections plus plenty of comfortable seating. More people than ever will be able to enjoy its beautiful architectural details and natural light.
Up in the “Harry Potter Room” on third floor, a lot of carpentry wizardry has gone into building protective boxes around the Great Room murals. This will prevent damage during all of the renovation that has to happen in the space.
Above, you can see protective dark felt fabric stretched across the murals, and on top of that, a layer of plastic.
Once the plywood “rooms” around the murals were complete, they fastened small doors at multiple levels up and down the height of each painting so the workers can climb up and down the scaffolding and check on each mural’s condition on a regular basis.
This photo is of the “dance floor” which is supported by the scaffolding that fills the Great Room. The dance floor gives workers access to the underside of the roof. Recently, a lot of the wood supports criss-crossing the space were removed.
Next, workers reinforced the existing metal roof supports with steel beams. It’s exciting to see improvements like these going in to strengthen the building so it will be here for many more generations of K-Staters.
Now, if you were to jump into the photo above, climb the orange ladder from the dance floor, go up through the attic and exit the little portal to the right, you’d arrive on the roof of Hale Library.
There used to be some massive air handling units out here on the roof, but those were heavily damaged by the fire and removed with a crane last summer. Now, a new penthouse is going up.
Before you think that we’re building something super fancy, we learned that in construction, “penthouse” refers to a shed-like structure built on the roof to house machinery or provide roof access, not “a luxurious dwelling on the top floor.”
Nonetheless, this new home for our HVAC systems will be the nexus for improved heating and cooling across the entire 550,000-square-foot building. Students who have spent time in Hale Library during the heat of summer and cold of winter (and during those hot-cold-hot fluctuations in spring and fall) have heard us say how difficult it was to control temperatures in the massive space. This penthouse and its equipment will make the new Hale Library dramatically more comfortable!
So, from the first floor to the roof, that’s what’s new at Hale Library. Our renovation begins in earnest very soon, and at this point, we still aim to reopen an amazing first floor space in fall 2019.
In the meantime, we leave you with a discovery Haddock made when he was in Hale Library to take these photos.
Nothing like a little dark humor to brighten up a cold winter day.
In the wake of Hale’s fire, our community has been incredibly supportive.
We didn’t expect national exposure like this, though: Hale Library was recently profiled on a new television program. The series, which is called “Rescue Heroes: Global Response Team” (not to be confused with the Canadian children’s show “Rescue Heroes,” which features animated dogs), premiered last month. The second episode gives an overview of the fire, including interviews from rescue and recovery personnel plus students and faculty.
Watch the full show on YouTube! (The portion featuring K-State starts at 11:07).
The episode features several people who are near and dear to the Libraries talking about the fire, the process of rescuing the books, restoring the building, and Hale Library’s future. Here are just a few of them.
Before the fire, Kathryn Talbot managed digital preservation and the preservation lab that cared for the books. She also supervised all staff that physically moved library materials: They shifted the collections from one part of the library to another, reshelved books returned by patrons and more.
After the fire, Talbot became one of Hale Library’s key players in working with Belfor, the property restoration company, to make sure our collections made it out of the building and into safe storage locations.
“Books are a part of us,” Talbot said. “They have all our ideas, our thoughts, our hopes, our futures embedded in those pages. Missing that would be missing a huge part of ourselves.”
Tiffany Bowers, a senior in anthropology, was also featured in the video. Bowers is planning on going to graduate school for library sciences and is the current president of the K-State Libraries Student Ambassadors.
Her interview included her hopes for a renovated Hale Library: “This is an amazing opportunity to really rethink how… the library could serve students even better.”
Battalion Chief Jason Hudson, who was featured in a previous post, shared experience on the scene of the fire that day. “It was pulling at my heart knowing how bad this was,” he said.
Hudson was an undergraduate student at K-State when Hale was being built in the late ’90s, so witnessing its near destruction held special significance for him.
Rodney Todd, a restoration specialist with Belfor, shared facts about the extent of the damage: “There was not one square inch of the library that didn’t have some sort of either soot or water damage from top to bottom.”
Todd also talked about the murals in the Great Room and the process of trying to repair them after water and soot damage. “They’ve got the Great Room, which has murals that we’re saving. That’s one thing that’s really important to the university.”
The books that were damaged in the fire are being taken care of by Kay Rieder, another restoration specialist with Belfor. The approximately 1.5 million books are being stored in several locations throughout the state in storage facilities that have humidity and temperature control.
Kay described the process of dealing with wet books: “When we get wet materials we put it straight in our trailer, which is set at zero degrees. They then go in a freeze-dry chamber and that chamber puts it in a dry state and when the books come out they’re completely dry.”
These people are just a small part of the Hale Library emergency response team. As disheartening as it can be to think of the fire this summer, the knowledge that our books and building are in good hands made the process much easier, and we loved seeing it all captured so beautifully on “Rescue Heroes.”
From the outside, Hale Library looks relatively normal. Sure, there is a fence around it, and there is obviously some sort of construction going on, but the building’s exterior does not mirror the level of destruction inside.
This week we started a new semester, complete with new students wondering why the library is under construction. Even though we have been posting updates, there seems to be a disconnect with students about why Hale Library isn’t open.
In order to get a student’s perspective on what’s happening inside the building, the week before finals I joined a group of K-State Libraries Student Ambassadors on a tour so I could see the damage through their eyes and get their honest opinions.
The inside of the building has been stripped of almost all furniture and carpet, with a few remaining belongings sitting on the second floor. Most of the building is unrecognizable, and extension cords trail along the ceiling for lighting.
“I remember walking around Hale thinking that I knew where we were, and then Dean Lori would say something and I would realize that I had no idea where I was,” said Matthew Millholm, a junior agricultural education major.
The second floor is home to a few tables that survived the fire and random boxes. Wefald said of the second floor, “I was surprised that there was still some stuff left inside on one of the floors, like office chairs, desks, and even Christmas decorations.”
The combination of the exposed wall and partially destroyed tile on the staircase between the first and second floors was haunting, but we made it. From there, we took the elevator to the third and fourth floors, which was terrifying, but in different ways: There are no lights in the elevator. It was pitch dark.
This really brought home what Dean Lori Goetsch explained to us about the power in the building: Right now, all of the electricity is a low level of “construction power” that is brought into Hale Library from outside. As a result, areas that don’t absolutely have to be lit up (like the elevators) are left dark. It will be a huge job to replace all of the building’s electrical wiring so that it has its own power again.
“The third and fourth floors are completely empty,” Milholm said. “I think that’s where I really realized that the renovation is going to be a lot longer process than what I expected.”
The Great Room has seen better days but is under active construction. We barged in on two workers who looked very surprised to see us. Despite the scaffolding and the construction, the room is still gorgeous.
“It was a little bittersweet going inside the Great Room and walking by my old study spot because it really does look like a completely different building now,” Victoria Sparkman, a senior political science major, said.
After the fire, all the carpet needed to be torn out. As we exited the Great Room, we encountered a portion of the floor that is still alarmingly sticky from carpet glue.
Even after all of the demolition and repairs, there are still places in the building that look beautiful. This is the woodworking room, boxed in by plastic sheets and dedicated to repairing wooden trim from the Great Room.
The fourth floor was probably the most terrifying of all. The students—and, off the record, some of the adults—thought it would have made an excellent haunted house, with the exposed brick, scattered debris, and office space that has been temporarily transformed into a lair of some kind.
“It was very cool to see the old brick walls that were covered up when Hale was expanded over the years; it was like seeing more of Hale’s history,” Sparkman said.
The fifth floor is surprisingly intact because it was not damaged by the water. Because of this, desks, carpet and other items were left behind. This floor is where special collections were housed, so they escaped intact, although they were moved offsite for storage and will need to be cleaned.
“One of the weirdest things was going to the fifth floor and having it look relatively normal while the rest of the building looked so different,” Wefald said.
The final part of the tour took us to the stacks for special collections. There was a fan on somewhere in the room that made the plastic sheeting move. This, paired with the dangling light bulbs at the end of the dark bookshelves, made for a terrifying experience.
“After leaving the tour, I realized we are going to have a brand new building,” Milholm said. “I know that the current students will have a library that is fit for them. I won’t be in school when Hale reopens, but I’m still excited about the new library.”
At the end of the tour, we were all excited that we had the opportunity to see the inside of Hale. For the students who will graduate before it reopens, it was lovely to be able to say goodbye to the library that has been their favorite study spot for so long.
It’s coming: Hale Library’s new first floor will open in fall 2019! Other floors will follow in 2020.
On Tuesday, December 4, architects from PGAV held an open forum to share existing plans for the building and to get feedback from the K-State community.
As attendees pored over proposed floor plans, they talked about how they used Hale Library in past semesters and what they’d like to see in its future. They even considered details like noise levels and various furniture styles and configurations.
Thank you to everyone who was willing to share their reactions (and have their photo taken during a stressful dead week!)
“Last year I usually studied on the second floor when I had time in between classes. It was a great way to knock out a couple things or just relax. I definitely see a lot here that I like.”
“The first floor looks awesome, including the café right in the middle and the event space next to it. The way the noise levels are configured makes sense, how it starts with the loudest on first where the café is and then gets quieter as you go up each floor. Love the rooms with the natural lighting.”
Angela: “I like the open concepts and how they’re looking at different kinds of furniture to get different uses out of the space. Large tables with dividers would help for solo study, but then they also have some good examples of large desks where you could spread out or study with a group.”
Anna: “I look forward to the enclosed study rooms that you can reserve.”
“I like the reservable group study spaces. I use the ones in the Business building all of the time, but they’re first-come, first-served, so it can be hard to find one that’s open.”
“There were a lot of things I loved about the old Hale Library, so I hope we don’t lose some of its good qualities. But there’s a lot of interesting features on the first floor, and the innovation center looks cool.”
Brien: “I got excited when I saw images of the innovation space. The rendering showed some tools on the wall, so I thought at first that it was going to include a shop, and I’m a construction science major. The architects told me it’s going to be more of a maker space and not a full shop, which makes sense for the building, but I still think it will have cool things in it that I’m looking forward to.”
Over the past several weeks, architects have been making revisions to reflect some of the feedback they’ve received in meetings and in the open forum. We look forward to sharing more renderings, floor plans and timelines in 2019!
Finals week is next week! Since Hale Library is temporarily out of commission, we wanted to highlight some study locations that might make things less stressful during this very stressful time of year.
The full list of hours, dates and locations can be found at the Libraries website, but to give you an inside look, my coworkers and I did a quick tour of a few lesser-known study spaces. The following buildings were not highlighted in our beginning-of-semester post about study spots, which featured a massive picture of my head that still haunts me.
All of these spaces are reserved for quiet study, which is the hardest to come by on campus during finals week.
The Alumni Center was our first stop.
In addition to setting up their massive space with tables and chairs, they have several small meeting rooms (just ask at the front desk about availability). The Alumni Center will also serve free coffee 8-10 a.m. on Monday and Tuesday (while supplies last).
The KSU Foundation at 1800 Kimball Avenue is offering up their enormous conference room on the main floor. Two perks: It’s right next door to Bluestem Grille, and it’s on the aTa Bus line (Office Park/Grain Campus stop).
Students looking for space that’s open all night should head to the K-State Student Union. In addition to the usual Union study spots, they’ll have their ballroom set up for studiers; that area will stay open until midnight.
Holtz Hall will be open from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. Sundays through Thursdays, and they offer two dozen study rooms. The Berney Family Welcome Center has twenty-three study rooms that would be great for small groups of two to four; they’re free from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday (check at the welcome desk for availability).
“If I really needed total silence, I would hustle to grab one of the small rooms in Holtz Hall or the Berney Family Welcome Center,” Rebekah said. “The other spaces will accommodate a ton of people, so they’ll have more ambient noise. I think the ballrooms would work perfectly well, though, especially if I had my headphones on.”
“We highlighted spaces that aren’t usually available for studying because people won’t be as aware of them,” Emma said. “Two of my go-to spots that aren’t on this list are the Business Building (because I spend so much time there anyway) and the tucked-away seating areas in the Rec Center. If you’re someone who really needs to get a stress-relieving workout in, that would be a great spot.”
Again, we have a guide online that outlines dates, hours, and details about these study spaces and many, many more (21 in all)! We hope these will help lessen student stress, even though finals week will remind us all again how much we miss Hale Library.
Maybe it’s the coming holiday season, but we’re feeling reflective. Join us in looking back at our post-fire Hale Library progress via some exciting releases (video, print, and apparel) that you might have missed.
We are so excited about this KSU Foundation video that was presented at the Friends of the K-State Libraries gala. It includes some intense live footage that hasn’t been seen widely.
We love the part where Roberta Johnson says, “When we’re done, we’re going to be better. That’s the only way you can look at losing this much. Eighty percent of the building has been destroyed. You can’t not feel devastated by that unless you have the hope that … when you put it back together [it’s] going to be better.”
That’s exactly what keeps us excited about coming to work every day and creating the news you read about Hale Library!
Speaking of reading, if you’d like a more in-depth version of what’s happened in the last six months, we hope you didn’t miss “Unexpected Journey,” in the most recent K-State Libraries Magazine.
An overwhelming amount of work has occurred since May. This is a great place to get a recap, view photos not seen elsewhere and take in some inside points-of-view from our administrators and faculty.
Finally, if you’re looking for the perfect gift for someone in your life who loves comfort, K-State and all things purple, consider the Hale Library t-shirt. On campus, it’s available at the Library Help Desk in the K-State Student Union, or you can order it online via the K-State Super Store. Proceeds go to the Help for Hale fund, which will assist with renovation efforts.
In closing, here are a few of our favorite photos of our friends in their Hale tees:
This month we took some time out for expressions of gratitude. One of the highlights? A very special visit to the Manhattan Fire Department Headquarters.
On November 16, a group of K-State Libraries employees met at Station 1 on the corner of Denison and Kimball. We were greeted by Battalion Chief Jason Hudson and his team. Hudson, who was a K-State freshman during Hale Library’s construction, was in charge of the scene on May 22.
Hudson started off echoing what many of us thought on the day the MFD responded to the fire: “We’re there all the time. How could it be that bad?”
“So I get out of my vehicle and I talked to some folks that are outside already, and they’re like, ‘Yeah, there’s some smoke on the fourth floor.’ I was thinking cooking smoke, or something like that.
“I was walking … between Willard and Hale on the north side of the building … and I could smell it. You can’t mistake that smell. I look up and I see just a little wisp come off the roof, and then … I had a driver come up Mid Campus Drive from the south and he said ‘Hey, there’s smoke on this side of the building.’
“And I said, ‘Oh. We have a big fire.’ I actually thought the roof was going to come off the building. In fact, I moved trucks back thinking that the roof was going to burn off. That was my first impression of it.
“I actually ended up going inside with my crews and I couldn’t believe… It was almost like, ‘This building’s taken a kill shot.’ I knew it immediately when there was zero visibility… we were fortunate that everybody made it out of there when they did, because it could have been bad. Had anyone stayed in that building thinking it was nothing they would have been overcome by smoke ….
Hudson also talked about challenges the building presented.
“[T]ypically we don’t like to be on top of fire. We’d rather be under it, pull the ceiling down and then putting water on. [In Hale Library] you can’t! There’s concrete [between the floors]. We spent a lot of time trying to pull ceiling, and we couldn’t do it, so we had to get on top of it and go down.
“[The sprinkler system] saved the building. It did a lot of water damage, but there wouldn’t be a roof on that building … It could have been like Nichols Hall, back in the ’60s when it burned and all that was left was a shell. I mean, it could have done something similar to that.”
We also spoke with Captain Dan Newton, who is currently with Station 4 by the Manhattan Regional Airport. He started out his career at Station 2, which covers Hale Library. So like Chief Hudson, when Captain Newton heard that there was smoke in the building at Hale, he said his first thought was, “Just another burnt bagel.”
Initially his crew didn’t go … but when they started getting radio traffic that smoke was coming from the eaves, they came to the scene. After an assignment clearing the Great Room, they went to the roof.
“[W]e did multiple revolutions on the roof, which was the best place to be. We spent several revolutions cutting holes, using special nozzles that you can stick in a hole and get water to confined spaces. It was a very tough operation. It’s always a great team-building experience when you have something big like that.
“I can just remember my whole entire crew cramping up … and getting to that point where knowing okay, we’ve pushed to our limit here … and you know so we did that multiple times, not just once ….
“It was a really, really hot day. And for me it was good to see my guys kind of step up. I had a very new firefighter getting to see him push through limits he didn’t know he had, and a very young driver that hadn’t been a decision-maker on scene but came up with the idea to use the special nozzle to put out the fire. So getting to see these guys grow and learn right there right in the middle of the scene isn’t something you always get to do.”
We don’t always get to hear about the fire from those who experienced it first-hand, so we’d like to extend a huge thank you to Chief Hudson and Captain Newton. Thanks, too, go out to Captain Micah Hydeman and Captain Lou Kaylor, as well as Scott Helberg, Nick Clark, A.J. Mueller, Lawilson Horne and the rest of the crew.
Thanksgiving, November 22, marks six months since the Hale Library fire, so it’s a fitting time to give thanks for the MFD and all of the other emergency personnel who were there that day, including the crews from Fort Riley, Blue Township, Riley County EMS and more.
We’re deeply grateful for these and for all first responders this holiday season, and we’re wishing them health and safety today and always!
Photos of the May 22 Hale Library fire courtesy K-State University Photo Services.
On November 2, 2018, more than 200 revelers gathered in the Bill Snyder Family Stadium for “A Night of Illumination.” The gala attendees—Friends of the K-State Libraries, long-time supporters and event sponsors, students and librarians—all held one wish in common: To see a new, renovated Hale Library functioning at the heart of the K-State campus.
Attendees watched video highlights of both the post-fire devastation and the developing vision for the new, renovated Hale Library. In her remarks, Dean Lori Goetsch said, “We have a blank slate … We get to decide what kind of a university library we will create for Kansas State University.”
Tiffany Bowers, Chair of the K-State Libraries Student Ambassadors; Andrew Kohls, Friends member; Sara Kearns, librarian and student ambassadors adviser; and Taylee Helms, student ambassador. Bowers delivered an impassioned testimonial about the out-sized role Hale Library played during her K-State career.
Thank you to everyone who planned, sponsored and attended “A Night of Illumination.” After a dark season in our history, it felt good to celebrate with light, music and our K-State friends.
Now, as we end the recovery phrase, we look forward to sharing our vision for Hale Library.
“We were really fortunate that our research materials escaped serious damage,” Cliff Hight, university archivist, said. “The collection has been moved offsite for cleaning and storage until we’re ready to move back into Hale Library.”
But in early October, the department opened a reading room in 116 Bluemont Hall. The space features a small fraction of their collection, including a limited amount of frequently used archival materials plus research tables, a scanner and a microfilm reader.
“We realized within a week or so after the fire that in order to continue providing at least one aspect of our services we would need to have access to some of the collection,” Hight said. “We determined that it made the most sense to offer core materials related to university history. After that, we were in a holding pattern until they could move those items out of Hale Library and clean them so they were free of soot and smoke odors.”
Items available for public use include subject clipping files, photo collection files, yearbooks, catalogs, recent budget books, campus directories, Manhattan directories and commencement programs.
“We’re looking forward to seeing students, faculty and the community engage with our collections again, even if it is on a much smaller scale,” Hight said.
Visitors can also request to view the St. John’s Bible. If you can’t make it to the reading room but would like to bring the St. John’s Bible to your community, our outreach program remains active. The Libraries’ trained docents regularly bring this work of art to organizations throughout the Kansas region.
Additionally, a selection of digitized materials from the department’s primary collecting areas is available online.
So what kinds of things can you find in the reading room? And who might need them?
Let’s say you are a history or journalism student researching the arc of the civil rights movement on the K-State campus. The reading room staff can pull subject clipping files related to your topic. You’d find articles about events, people and conflicts as reported in regional, local and campus publications dating back over many decades. They can also pull files of related photographs, many of which have never been published or digitized.
Of course, professional journalists, professors from K-State and further afield and members of the community can also access these resources.
How can I contact the reading room?
If you have questions about the holdings, policies or more, call 785-532-7456, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
What types of materials are boxed up and stored offsite?
Well, for starters, the Morse Department is home to more than 38,000 cookbooks and manuscripts that date back as far as 1487.
It might seem arbitrary for a library to have so much focusing on a single subject.
“Libraries that have a special collections department often narrow their focus and collect most heavily in a few specific subject areas,” Lori Goetsch, Dean of Libraries, said. “That means they can develop a collection with depth and breadth to truly serve researchers in that field. At K-State, we’ve developed a great reputation for our cookery collection. People come from all over the country to access everything from 19th century hand-written manuscripts of recipes to regional cookbooks covering different American cuisine.”
Two other collection highlights include topics related to Kansas history and the consumer movement.
The Consumer Movement Archives (CMA) was established in 1987 through the initiative of Richard L.D. Morse, a prominent leader in the consumer movement and a Kansas State University professor. Broadly defined, the consumer movement consists of individuals and organizations that advocate for the rights and welfare of consumers, especially when those rights are violated by corporations and governments.
This is just a small sampling of the materials included in the department. We look forward to bringing them back to Hale Library once they have a new, improved space.
Where do the materials come from?
The university’s librarians regularly buy and receive donated materials to grow the collection. Funds come from a range of sources, including private gifts and grants from organizations such as the National Endowment for the Humanities.
It’s done! Thanks to hundreds of workers putting in thousands of hours, more than 1.5 million collection items have been packed out of Hale Library. The herculean effort was completed on September 20, a little less than 17 weeks after the fire.
Maybe you work with objects in quantities of 1.5 million on a regular basis and can easily wrap your head around how big this project was. But if that’s not the case, we’ve crafted some comparisons to help everyone visualize the scope of the situation.
If each item measures 10 inches long and there are 5,280 feet in a mile, then all of Hale Library’s 1.5 million collection items laid end-to-end would stretch from Manhattan to Tulsa, Okla.
So how did this massive pack-out all start? The first things to leave Hale Library after the May 22 fire were the wet materials in Room 117.
Those 4,000 boxes of wet books were shipped in refrigerated trucks to a Belfor preservation lab in Ft. Worth, Tex. The materials were freeze-dried, cleaned and treated with ozone. More than ninety percent were deemed salvageable.
After the wet books were safely out of the building, volumes from second, third and fourth floors were packed up.
The last items to leave Hale Library came out of the Richard L. D. & Marjorie Morse Department of Special Collections on the fifth floor.
So from beginning to end, the pack-out started in late May on the hot, humid first floor, and it ended in late September in a chilly, air-conditioned Stack H, just above Hale Library’s fourth floor.
Kathryn Talbot, K-State Libraries’ preservation coordinator, at work in the stacks. July 5, 2018.
Does that give you a better idea of how big this project was? No?
Here’s another story problem: If 15 books fit in each box, and 40 boxes were stacked on one pallet, and 24 pallets were packed onto every truckload that left Hale Library, then the 1.5 million items required 104 semi trucks.
Until Hale Library is renovated, all of the books—approximately 147,400 boxes of them—will be stored in four different air-conditioned warehouses across the region. Because of the soot damage, books will be individually cleaned, re-boxed and stored until they can be returned to campus.
It is a huge relief to have the entire collection safely out of the building and know that it will come home to a new, improved Hale Library.
Thank you to everyone who worked on this project. We hope you can take a few days off to catch your breath: You deserve a break before you start planning how we’ll move it all back!
Original infographics created by Katherine Kistler, K-State Libraries graphic design student employee.
The last several months have been some of the darkest times in K-State Libraries’ history. Now, more than 100 days since the Hale Library fire, we’re at a turning point. On Friday, November 2, 2018, the Friends of the K-State Libraries will mark this moment by presenting A Night of Illumination.
This marks the twenty-eighth annual Friends event. Except for a few celebrations that were held off-site during Hale Library’s construction in the ’90s, they’ve always been held in Hale Library.
This year, we’ll gather in beautiful West Stadium Center, Bill Snyder Family Stadium. We hope some of our blog readers can join us to make a toast to resilience, new possibilities and boundless aspiration.
Guests will enjoy cocktails and hors d’oeuvres followed by dinner, dessert and a performance by Dr. Wayne Goins & the Rhythm & Blues Machine. We’ll also be able to share a glimpse of the vision for the new Hale Library from PGAV architects.
Dress is cocktail suggested but not required. Tickets are $100 and can be purchased online or via phone at 785-532-7417 by Friday, October 19.
Proceeds leveraged by the event will go toward Help for Hale, a fund devoted to making Hale Library the light on campus that it has been for two decades.
Questions? Contact Darchelle Martin at 785-532-7442 or email@example.com.
As we walk across campus, we’re often stopped by fellow K-Staters and asked, “So how are you all doing?” Truly, we’ve appreciated the expressions of concern for the 100+ displaced Hale Library folks.
On that note, we thought we’d catch up with four of our co-workers who share a combined 80 years of experience with K-State Libraries.
After all of the computers and printers were lost in the fire, Renee Gates was responsible for getting more than 90 employees set up with new technology. She and her team also travel between a dozen different buildings on campus to make sure everything continues to work smoothly.
Renee, two of the four staff members on your team left Manhattan to pursue new job opportunities this summer. How are you doing?
“Everybody has been really nice and patient with us. They understand we are short-staffed.
In addition to getting everyone set up on new technology, we’re doing a lot of inventory of the tech that was in an area of Hale Library that was declared clean or cleanable. Everything has to be plugged in and tested to make sure it works. Some things don’t because of internal issues like the effects of condensation.
After the fire, I think in many ways our department had it a lot easier than other people. We had the most to do initially, but we were connected, we knew what was going on, and we had purpose. I think there was a lot more anxiety for people who weren’t as busy as we were. So that busyness helped get us through.
I love that we have space in Seaton Hall that is just our LIST staff and we can easily talk to each other without disturbing anyone else. I miss everybody from the library, though.”
Dan, what do you remember about the day of the fire?
“I was in my office, and my 15-year-old son was with me because he was out early that day and doing homework on a computer. We had this history in Hale Library that the fire alarms were sensitive to dust. One summer it seemed like a fire alarm went off every week. So the alarm goes off and it’s like, ‘Eh, okay, well… it’s the end of the day.’ So I scooped up my stuff. And I remember thinking so clearly, ‘Do I need my laptop tonight? Nah, I’ll get it in the morning,’ and I left it and we went home.
An hour later, I’m hearing from people, ‘Did you see the fire?’ And I was like, ‘There was an actual fire?!’ I went back, and people were hanging around outside. Somebody had ordered pizza, and we watched sheets of water cascade down the side of the building and into Mid-Campus Drive.”
What’s different about your job since you aren’t working out of Hale Library?
“A couple of librarians and I have gotten office spaces within our respective disciplines, so I am in in Nichols Hall with the Theater Department. I’ve tried to become more entrenched with their faculty and students, and that’s been great. I see them every day, and it’s very easy for them to find me and for me to be a resource for them because I’m physically there right now.
The thing I miss most are the collections, though. For example, theater is very practice-based. A lot of it is producing creative works based off of scripts and physical materials. While there are some fantastic online resources, it’s left a hole for my students when they go looking for scripts. You really want something physical in your hands for that, even when you’re trying to select scenes.”
How has your job changed?
“Part of our work is to make sure that when a K-Stater is off-campus that they can access all of the databases and online resources that the Libraries pay for by simply signing in with their K-State username and password.
The proxy system that makes that happen seamlessly was lost when the servers had to be taken offline after the fire. Fortunately, the Libraries’ IT department had been preparing to move the system to the cloud, so they were able to have up a new version within just a few days. Once it was rebuilt, our team spent the summer making sure that the new proxy system was working for hundreds of online resources. These materials are especially important now since the physical collection isn’t available. We’ve been very, very busy.”
This isn’t your first time working out of the Unger Complex, is it?
“Three of us were located in this exact same office when Hale Library was being built in the ’90s. Everyone here has been really friendly and helpful, and whatever we need they try to make it happen. It’s just kind of weird déjà vu!”
What do you remember from the day of the fire?
“The fire alarm went off at 3:58, and we just thought it was a normal fire alarm, so I picked up my purse and went to my exercise class. When we got out, we could smell smoke and hear the sirens. People were going ‘Yeah, the library is on fire.’ Then I got home and had all these messages on my answering machine, asking if I was okay.
After the fire, I emailed each patron that had anything checked out. What was great was that a lot of people emailed back, and they were so supportive. That was the really nice thing: I had a lot of personal contact with patrons on email.”
How is life different now?
“I miss seeing all of the people that I worked with on a daily basis. I mean, I still go over to the union and see people but it’s different. I miss walking around in the stacks, seeing the actual books and seeing the students. I am excited about seeing the new Hale Library, though! I’m close to retiring, so this gives me a new reason to work long enough to see what the new Hale is going to look like.”
Like Carolyn, we are all excited to see what the future of Hale Library holds. We’re reminded, too, that libraries aren’t just about buildings—they’re about the people who work there, the people who use them and the people who believe in their value.
We know our blog readers fall into one or all of those categories. Thank you!
Interviews were conducted and transcribed by communication student employee Rebekah Branch. Transcriptions were edited for clarity and brevity.
We’ve witnessed a lot of things go down on the fourth floor of Hale Library over the years: students camping under tables with blankets and pillows during finals week; physical anthropology study sessions that featured skeletons and piles of bones; and, well, let’s be honest, we’ve seen some fourth-floor stacks activities we wish we hadn’t.
But we’ve never seen fourth floor as a woodworking shop … until now. A lot of materials — like the entire physical library collection and one of the murals — have been packed out so they can be cleaned and stored until Hale Library renovations are complete.
The Great Room woodwork is staying, though. Crews are cleaning and stripping the beams. Eventually, they’ll be refinished, and when the roof and ceiling are repaired and the space is ready for renovation, the beams will be reinstalled.
Crew members from John Canning Co. clean and remove varnish from two decorative arch braces that hung in the Great Room.
Meanwhile, back in the Great Room, conservators continue to monitor and stabilize the David Hicks Overmyer murals.
Additional mural restoration is on hold until two things happen: First, the plaster walls need to be more thoroughly dried out, and second, the rest of the Great Room restoration needs to be more advanced so that the murals aren’t re-damaged during that process.
To prevent the murals from getting damaged while the rest of the Great Room is renovated, conservators have covered them with a felt-like fabric that’s attached to a tack strip that runs around the perimeter of each painting.
Up above the murals, the Great Room’s decorative woodwork has been removed, and the ceiling has been completely torn out. Crews from Hutton Construction are moving in to start replacing the roof and ceiling in the 1927 building.
Elsewhere in Hale Library, most of the recent action has centered on cleaning toxic soot from all surfaces and scraping up the carpet glue. Since that process is nearly complete, the size of the Belfor Property Restoration crew has been scaled down.
Even though the Belfor folks are starting to leave Manhattan, they aren’t taking a break: As organizations across the Carolinas assess the devastation wrought by Hurricane Florence, Belfor will be on the ground with their massive semi-truck command center and their amazing people. We wish them a safe assignment as they begin recovery efforts there.
It’s been eighteen weeks of damage assessment and drying out, packing collections and planning. The space is a clean slate, and in forthcoming posts we’ll be able share a lot more about the Hale Library of the future.
Hi! My name is Brenna. I’m a junior from Conway Springs, Kan., majoring in English. I was hired as a communications student employee for K-State Libraries about two weeks before Hale caught on fire, and as someone who basically lived in the library last semester, I was pretty upset when I heard what had happened, especially when I realized the extent of the damage.
The K-State Student Union has stepped up in amazing ways, especially by hosting Library Help and IT Help desks. Everyone knows about it as a study spot, though. I decided to take a mini-tour to see what other study locations around campus are my favorite! Here are a few out-of-the-way areas you might not know about.
I used the “Hale recovery” tab on the K-State interactive map to find locations that would be good on-campus study spots. The map itself was incredibly helpful since it has the hours listed as well as the room numbers or floors.
My first stop was Calvin Hall’s third floor, which is advertised on the map as a location with group study space, printing capabilities and a computer lab. The group study spot was extremely comfortable with rows of cushioned chairs and a pretty relaxed atmosphere.
The very nice grad student who I talked to said that it’s typically pretty empty, except for right before class starts.
There is also a charging station with both Android and iPhone compatible cords for those days when you find yourself without a charger. You can also find a computer lab with a printer in Room 318.
Eisenhower Hall 121 was the next place I visited. This room is a designated quiet room, and it had a lot of outlets surrounding the desks, which is always a plus. There was no one there at all, and it was really easy to find.
There is a chalkboard there if that helps you study. Unfortunately, there is no printing in Eisenhower for students, so plan accordingly!
The College of Business Building is home to some amazing study spaces. Rooms are available for both quiet study and group study. Even the open study spaces on the first, second and third floors were relatively quiet.
The very friendly student I talked to said that the areas are generally heavily trafficked and that it can be difficult to grab a study room.
However, there were so many different seating options and arrangements outside of study rooms. Nearly all of the chairs I saw also had desks near them. Printers are available, and they are located near the first, second and third floor elevators and in the back of the computer lab located in Room 3121.
Next up, Justin Hall! Justin Hall has a quiet study room (Room 301) on the third floor and group study locations on the first floor in an open area.
Right by the entrance to Justin, there are tables with chairs for groups, and farther back in the first floor is another group of comfortable chairs—these do not have desks, but it was quite a bit quieter than the area by the entrance. Printers are available both in the quiet study room and in the group study location to the left of the main entrance.
Dickens Hall has 24/7 printing available! It is a computer lab, so it has a lot of computers and a printer available. They’re located in Room 1, which is in the basement. You can access it through the back entrance on the north side of the building or the wheelchair accessible entrance throughout the night.
The Vet Med Library is located on the north side of campus in Trotter Hall, very close to the K-State Rec. Its amazing booths might just be worth the trek. It’s open 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and has public computers, scanners and a printer.
The printer does cost a small amount because it doesn’t accept CatCash. There is an open group study area as well as a room specifically for quiet study, Room 422.
It is located on the fourth floor of Trotter Hall and is to your right when you get off the elevators. The chairs are comfy, and there is a variety of seating arrangements, including those booths—they’re now my favorite spot because they have outlets on the table and are incredibly comfortable.
I found a ton of study spots that I did not know existed before this year, and some of them I really loved. If you’re like me, you’re missing Hale Library, but there are great spots out there. Go find your new favorite spot—and let us know about it!
We have only shared a small percentage of the thousands of photos that have been taken of Hale Library since May 22. This week we wanted to share a few more that are meaningful to us. Some are powerful illustrations of the reality of the devastation inside the building; others show how far we’ve come in the recovery process.
We’ve also included a few that are laden with memories and our hope for the future of Hale Library.
There’s one aspect of the recovery that’s hard to get across in these blog posts: It’s dark in there! We share photos that are as well-lit as possible, but in those instances, the light source isn’t Hale Library’s lights; they’re either natural light from the windows or temporary lighting.
The electrical infrastructure was seriously compromised, so the building is operating off of temporary construction power supplied by portable units rather than “house power.” As soon as you walk away from a space that’s lit up with construction lights … you’re in the dark. More than once the power has gone out on the workers removing the books from the stacks.
Fortunately, the building is nearly empty now. We’ve come a long way in the last sixteen weeks. The majority of the collection has been packed out, the duct work is completely clean, and the process of removing soot from all other hard surfaces is nearly complete.
Our services have been successfully relocated, too.
The reserves collection, which includes a lot of textbooks, was located behind Library Help on the second floor. Now students can access reserves at branch libraries and the new Library Help Desk at the K-State Student Union.
These days, the IT Help Desk is up and running in the Cat’s Pause Lounge on the top floor of K-State Student Union.
And those two sodden and sad locations in the photos above? They’re awaiting their next act!
The Harry Potter Room.
If you’ve been on campus since the first Potter film came out in 2001, you probably know what we’re talking about. The Great Room has inspired comparisons to the Great Hall in the Harry Potter movies for nearly two decades. More than one student has said that just being there made them feel smarter and more focused.
Post-fire, it looked as if the Harry Potter Room had a brush with some dark magic.
These days, it’s gratifying to see the space wiped clean and buzzing with activity. We’re moving forward, and the team of conservators, architects, construction workers and craftspeople executing the recovery and restoration plan are wizards at what they do.
Here’s a less-known Potter-themed room for any die-hard fans out there. Room 117 on Hale Library’s ground floor was not a well-trafficked space. It was home to rows and rows of moveable compact shelving.
Those who took time to uncover the library’s secrets, though, were aware that Room 117 was generally cooler when the rest of the building was hot, warmer when the rest of the building was cold, nearly always quiet and usually had vacant tables next to some enormous banks of windows. No space in the library, save perhaps the Great Room, offered more beautiful natural light.
How is all of this Potter-themed?
A few of our student employees dubbed it “The Room of Requirement.” It always had what you needed. We can’t wait to see what need the Room of Requirement—and all of these now-empty spaces—fills in its next life.
Librarians are pretty obsessive about tracking everything in their collections. It’s all meticulously cataloged, which allows us to identify where each item is at any given point in time, who has it, and when it’s coming back.
Cataloguing pieces of a mural? The oak beams from the Great Room? A 50-pound solid oak acorn finial? That’s a little out of our wheelhouse.
Fortunately, John Canning Company is in charge of disassembling Historic Farrell Library so it can be put back together better than ever. We’re confident that there will be no Humpty Dumpty situations on their watch.
Let’s set the scene: There’s a coupla big ol’ holes in Farrell Library. Charred, scary holes that have been covered by a temporary roof.
Below that, you have the dance floor. That’s what they call the temporary plywood floor built on top of the metal scaffolding that fills the entire Great Room. We don’t want to keep those holes, so the dance floor gives workers access to the ceiling where they can begin the process of removing the fire debris to replace the ceiling and roof.
Workers are carefully taking down the woodwork that lends the Great Room much of its historic character. It’s a little like high-stakes Jenga: Removing, labeling and relocating each piece of wood is a delicate process.
When Farrell Library is sporting a new ceiling and roof sans holes, it will be time to reverse-Jenga all of that woodwork. We can’t wait to see it back where it belongs!
Over in the Richard L. D. & Marjorie J. Morse Department of Special Collections, librarians have been going hands-on to pack out the Libraries’ unique research collections and rare materials. This area of the building mainly experienced smoke damage, and we initially hoped the books and other holdings could be cleaned on site. It’s become clear, though, that in order to keep them safe, everything needs to be transported to secure, reliably conditioned space.
“We should have everything out before the end of September,” said Associate Dean of Libraries Mike Haddock. “It’s been a slow process, but we can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.”
The remaining special collections materials will join the 140,000 boxes that have already been sent to one of the three offsite storage facilities we’ve contracted to keep everything safe. The newest location in our stable of stables is one of Underground Archive & Storage’s facilities, a former limestone mine in Kansas City, Mo.
Now, it might not have been the first thing on everyone’s mind after the fire, but we had materials on order that arrived over the summer. We were a little busy, and we weren’t able to make those available … until now!
NEW K-State Libraries materials that were destined for Hale Library are being held in Seaton Hall. You can visit Library Help in the Union and ask for the item you want in person; we’ll retrieve it on the spot. Alternately, you can make your request through our website and specify which library help desk you’d like to pick your item up at.
And, as we look to the future, we continue our work with the architects from PGAV. They recently completed “like-for-like drawings”: PGAV determined what the building looked like right before the fire. Now those drawings go to a contractor who assigns what the replacement costs would be if we were to rebuild Hale Library as it was. These are essential steps that have to happen before the various parties involved assign a dollar amount to the total damages. Only after that is completed will we know how much K-State will receive from the insurance companies.
Until then, if you ever have questions you’d like us to address in this blog, please comment below or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And to everyone who has been following along with us on this journey, thank you! Your comments and words of encouragement mean the world to us!
Maybe you’ve never seen it. The “We Are the Dream” mural on the fourth floor of Hale Library is not heavily trafficked, but it’s an important record of the struggle of K-State’s underrepresented students to be seen and heard.
“We Are the Dream,” which was sponsored by the Black Student Union, Movimiento Estudiantil de Chicanos de Aztlan (MEChA, a Hispanic student group), and the Native American Indian Student Body, was painted and dedicated in 1980. At that time, it was a striking focal point in the Minorities Resources/Research Center. In recent years, the space has served as the Academic Learning Center, a daytime study location for student athletes.
This summer, the “We Are the Dream” mural was damaged in the May 22 fire, along with the rest of the building. In fact, the Academic Learning Center staff, led by Liane Fowler, assistant director of Student Academic Services, was the first to smell the smoke in their space directly in front of the painting.
Their area is located on the opposite side of the wall from the Great Room Murals, so the two works of art have undergone some of the same challenges. Both suffered from significant water damage and soiling, and it is imperative that the the wall between them dries out. The “We Are the Dream” mural had mold trapped behind it: While the images are beautiful, the paint created a barrier that inhibited the moisture from escaping.
Rachel Gilberti, the chief conservator at John Canning Company, has been working with the damaged mural since June 22, after her company was contacted by Julia Mathias Manglitz, the preservation architect with TreanorHL.
“The ‘We Are the Dream’ mural is painted on burlap that was incorporated in the original 1927 building construction, so that’s been there for a long time,” Gilberti said. “When they made the mural in the early ’80s, they came in and painted over everything that was existing. So, in reality, that surface was never really prepared for a painting.”
“Another challenge is that we have multiple types of adhesives going on behind the burlap. There’s the original adhesive used when the burlap was installed, and over the years, as the seams started coming apart, they started injecting other adhesives on the seams. There are 15 pieces of burlap, so a lot of the seams have a different type of adhesive, and each type reacts differently.”
Gilberti and her conservation associates have removed each section of burlap from the wall, which will allow air to reach the wall behind the painting and dry it out.
The “We are the Dream” mural has been moved in pieces to another floor in the library and spread on tables so the conservationists can clean them.
However, the Libraries administration’s hope that the mural won’t remain in pieces. It will be safely stored by John Canning Company in a climate-controlled space until it can be reinstalled in a clean, renovated Hale Library.
“They are salvageable,” Gilberti said. “Every piece of art is salvageable. It’s not one of those things. Conservators are here for exactly that reason, to salvage the artwork and preserve what the original artist’s intent is. So they will be saved.”
When asked about the “We Are the Dream” mural, Dean of Libraries Lori Goetsch noted that it’s an important part of K-State’s cultural history.
“We love having it as part of Hale Library and look forward to its restoration,” she said. “The fact that this mural celebrates diversity and progress at K-State makes it an important piece of work to be treated with respect and preserved as well as it can be.”
The mural has been an important symbol to many K-Staters over the years. In May 1993, students gathered around the mural to mourn the death of Hispanic activist and leader Cesar Chavez, who is pictured in the painting.
The Kansas State Collegian reported that members of HALO, (Hispanic American Leadership Organization), sang, listened to music and talked about Chavez’s impact on their lives in front of the “We Are the Dream” mural.
Elsa Diaz, the president of HALO at that time, said the mural is significant to minorities on campus because it is the only thing on campus that can give them a sense of belonging. “The mural means a lot to a number of people,” Diaz said. “It is important to people who want to come and worship their heroes.”
The Great Room murals, painted in 1934 by David Hicks Overmyer, are the most iconic works of art on the K-State campus
During the fire, some of the most serious damage occurred in the Great Room ceiling immediately above the murals. Water from both the sprinkler system and from the firefighting efforts on the roof saturated the wall and dripped over the surface of the paintings. Then, in the following days, the plaster and masonry wall behind the mural absorbed a large amount of water that was still flowing through the building.
Since early June, the future of the Great Room and its murals have been in the hands of Julia Mathias Manglitz, preservation architect with TreanorHL.
Manglitz examined the murals post-fire. At that time, she worked from a lift to document soiling and streaking on the paintings that resulted from sap running from wood trim directly above. The murals were also stained by dirty water that came from the attic. Additionally, Manglitz discovered areas where paint was cracking and areas that were already exhibiting very small areas of paint loss.
When public information officer Darchelle Martin spoke with Manglitz in late July, Manglitz explained that the murals are painted directly on plaster that is attached directly to the masonry walls. In other words, the paint needs to adhere to the plaster, and the plaster needs to adhere to the walls.
“If we lose the plaster, we’ve lost the paintings as well,” Manglitz said. “So I inspected the murals as closely as I could by doing what’s called ‘sounding.’ When we work with materials like plaster and stone, we tap on them with a rubber mallet, and depending on what sound comes back to us, we can tell if something is well-bonded. Hollow sounding plaster is an indication that layers of plaster are starting to delaminate from each other or from the masonry. On my initial evaluation, even though I wasn’t seeing plaster coming away from the walls except in small areas, what I found were large areas that sounded hollow.”
Between concerns for paint loss and the potential for plaster loss, Manglitz decided to contact a conservation contractor as quickly as possible. Based on her experience working with John Canning Company on the extensive renovation and restoration of the Kansas Statehouse in Topeka, she recommended they be brought onto the project.
Rachel Gilberti, chief conservator at John Canning, has been working in Hale Library since June 22.
Once Gilberti joined the project, more intensive mapping of the mural damage began. By this time, scaffolding had been erected so they could finally make a thorough, up-close examination. They discovered small areas of plaster deformation where it was starting to delaminate from the wall. Other areas of the paint were marked by a fine pattern of dense cracking called craquelure.
“Water escapes through the cracks, which is a good thing, but sometimes the paint can come off, too,” Manglitz said.
Gilberti also noted that it’s important that the wall needs to dry at a stable rate. “If it starts to dry too quickly, the layers begin to separate from one another,” she said. “It’s also important to have the wall dry from both sides and meet in the middle. If it dries just from the back, all of the salts in the stone get pulled into the front and the material on the surface of the stone will come out.”
It could be a long time before the walls are thoroughly dry.
“The walls are fourteen inches thick, and the general rule of thumb for drying mass masonry is one inch per month,” Manglitz said. “That said, it doesn’t have to be perfectly dry before we start the conservation process to visually restore the appearance, but we needed to get it to the point where we feel like it’s safe.”
When the wall started to dry, additional small areas of paint began to flake off. Gilberti and her team began a triage campaign to repair small areas of damage and prevent others from worsening.
They used syringes to insert thermoplastic adhesive where they found paint cracking and peeling. Once the adhesive seeped in, they placed a clear piece of mylar over it and heated it with a small iron to get it to set. The process helped them keep the paint layer in place and on the wall.
As they monitored the drying-out process and addressed the paint delamination, they noted that different colors of paint reacted differently.
“Each color, each pigment in itself has unique traits,” Gilberti said. “Some pigments have less binding in them. All the reds in general are more sensitive pigments, so they react differently, especially to water. Greens are also very sensitive. White is a very stable pigment, so paints mixed with white did very well. The ones that don’t have that extra binding power are what we tried to stop from flaking with the thermoplastic adhesive.”
Since the beginning of their efforts to preserve the murals, Manglitz and her team have been collecting data regarding how wet the walls are. Initially, they could only take measurements at the surface, but since then, they’ve inserted probes seven inches or eight inches into the masonry to determine the moisture levels inside the walls.
“Once we determined that the easternmost mural, Industry, was dry and stable enough, we were able to do a surface cleaning to remove the drips from the wood trim above without having paint actively flake off,” Gilberti said. “After that we began removing the varnish coating.”
The protective varnish was applied the last time the murals were cleaned and restored in 2011. Stripping that layer will increase the breathability of the wall.
As the process of stabilizing, drying, cleaning and stripping the murals of varnish continues, Manglitz and her team have several important questions to weigh regarding next steps.
“We need to decide when it’s appropriate to do the conservation work on the murals given amount of repair that has to be completed in the rest of the space and above this space,” she said. “Roof repairs come with the risk of water infiltration, so we’ll be asking ourselves, ‘What can we do to protect the murals? When do we think it’s appropriate to move forward with conservation? What should the sequence be?’”
Even though those questions haven’t been fully answered yet, Gilberti is confident that they will find a way forward to ensure the future of the Great Room murals.
“Every piece of art is salvageable,” she said. “Conservators are here for exactly that reason, to salvage the artwork and preserve what the original artist’s intent is. It’s not one of those situations where they’re going to disappear: They will be saved. We’ve just got to assess as we go. The murals will have damage, but we are here to mitigate that.”
Perhaps the most-frequently asked question we’ve received since the fire is “Will the Great Room be okay?”
The answer is a complicated yes.
Historic Farrell Library, the original 1927 library building, sustained significant damage, and it has been a long and difficult process to determine the next steps for preserving the structure.
The fire started in the roof just south of the Great Room, and it spread quickly, so it was difficult to isolate and extinguish. Because the room was at the center of the firefighting efforts, it took on a significant amount of water from both the firefighting and the sprinkler system. Since the building materials in Farrell—plaster, limestone, wood—are all highly porous, they absorbed a lot of water.
TreanorHL, an architecture firm with strengths in historic preservation, and John Canning Studios, a conservation/preservation studio, have subcontracted with Belfor Property Restoration, our emergency recovery team. The two organizations are assessing the damage and executing the subsequent recovery processes to aid in returning the space to its original state.
Connecticut-based John Canning Studios has worked across the country on projects such as the White House and the US Treasury Building. In Topeka, they installed plaster beams and capitals in the Kansas Statehouse that were part of the original plans but never executed. They also completed extensive plaster repairs in 100 spaces throughout the capitol.
On July 20, Darchelle Martin, public information officer, spoke with Dave Gough, John Canning Studios’ historic preservation manager.
Gough, who has been with Canning for more than 10 years, arrived in Manhattan on July 5 to assess the damage. Since then, their top priority has been drying the space, but the process must happen slowly in order to prevent additional damage.
Currently, they’re working on removal of architectural paint. Gough said that paint acts as a barrier that keeps moisture from evaporating, so eliminating the paint from the walls, columns, and capitals (the ornamental plaster at the top of the columns), will help the walls dry more quickly.
He also explained that a lot of plaster delamination has occurred throughout the space: The top, protective layers of plaster were compromised by the water, and the exposed surface is much more porous, which increases the ability of the wall to breathe and dry. The loss, while unfortunate, is repairable.
“Right now we are in defensive mode, especially regarding the murals,” Gough said. “We’re trying to stop any more damage from occurring.”
Once the drying process is further along, the focus will shift to preserving the space and restoring it as much as possible to its original state. The paint colors, the light fixtures and all other components of the room will be examined in historic photos and analyzed through scientific methods, too, so they can determine what it looked like in its very earliest days. The option to restore the room to a more historically accurate appearance is being explored.
“We will take paint samples from the painted surfaces and make an analysis under a microscope,” Gough said. “We will find out what the original historic colors were, in order to learn what the original architect’s design intent was. There’s a lot of science involved in what we do.”
Plaster and paint are just two of the materials that will be preserved. The team has a complex system in place to make sure all of the oak woodwork in the room is restored.
“We’re removing all the wood in pieces,” Gough said. “We catalog it, we’ll clean the backside of it and get rid of any biological growth, such as mold and mildew. Then we’re going to strip the front of it, preserve it. Finally, the wood will all be stored until the rest of the space has been repaired and it can be refinished and reinstalled.”
Gough said that the bookshelves and bookcases in the room are all oak, too, but they’ve determined that not all of the material is original to the room. Only the portions that are original will be salvaged and receive the same treatment as the oak beams and other ornate woodwork.
“It’s going to be a time intensive job,” Gough said. “There is a lot involved in keeping it organized and keeping the pieces together. It’s a process of reverse engineering, taking it apart piece by piece, preserving it, and making sure it all goes back together in the same place. It’s going to be quite a feat.”
The timeline is equally complicated.
“We don’t know yet when it can go back up,” he said. “It depends on a lot of circumstances, like how dry the building is and how quickly the roof and ceiling can be rebuilt. They’ll also put in a fireproof ceiling and venting. Once all that construction is done, we’ll hope to be back on site and start reinstallation.”
In our next post, we’ll tackle another big question: “What will happen to the Great Room murals?”
Obviously, we’ve been thinking about the Hale Library fire all summer. Like, constantly.
We recognize, though, that some K-Staters spent the last three months in far-flung locales, thinking about internships, summer jobs, beach vacations … *sigh*
But pretty soon, a lot of folks will return to campus and wonder how life will change without Hale. While tons of general information is available on the Hale Library Recovery Plan website, we’d like to address some specific questions here.
For example, where will you go if you need help with Canvas? What will you do if you need to borrow a laptop or projector? The IT Help Desk and equipment checkout, both formerly on Hale’s second floor, are now in the K-State Union.
The IT Help Desk is now on the second floor Cat’s Pause Lounge.
And what if you need access to Adobe Creative Cloud, iMovie or Auto CAD? Why, you’ll head to the NEW Media Development Center, of course! They’re opening in Seaton Hall 1 on August 20.
Mourning the loss of your favorite table in Hale Library? We’re certain you’ll find a new home base in one of our many alternate study locations, like the Math/Physics Library.
The Math/Physics Library in Cardwell Hall is one of several branch libraries on campus.
Basically, what we’re saying is that services and amenities formerly available in Hale Library have been relocated.
For a directory of all of the important spots, just visit the K-State campus map. You’ll see where you can
Get help from a librarian
Save money by borrowing textbooks on reserve
Study with classmates
Find a peaceful location to escape your classmates
It’s all there, listed right under “Hale Recovery.”
Now, while all of our online library resources are available, most of the 1.5 million Hale Library books and other physical materials will not be available during the 2018-19 academic year.
What to do? Use interlibrary loan! Our free interlibrary loan service gets the the books and articles you need by borrowing them for you on your behalf from other libraries.
Unfortunately, we usually aren’t able to provide textbooks through interlibrary loan, but be sure to check whether we have your textbook on reserve at Library Help in the Union. Borrow it for a short period, scan what you need, save money, repeat!
If you need help looking for that textbook or have any questions we haven’t addressed, contact us through Ask a Librarian. We are still here to help you! Your K-State Libraries are so much more than buildings. We’re #Family!
As soon as K-State Libraries and Belfor Property Restoration employees were allowed back in Hale Library after the fire, we removed wet books as quickly as possible.
Several weeks ago, we wrote about that process: books were packed out of the building and stored in freezers on campus until they could be shipped in refrigeration trucks to a Belfor facility in Fort Worth, Tex.
Two weeks ago, Kathryn Talbot, preservation coordinator, and Michelle Turvey-Welch, head of metadata, preservation and digital initiatives at K-State Libraries, went down to Fort Worth to check on our materials.
A total of 3,500 boxes of wet books were sent to the Belfor facility. Once they arrived, a two-step process of freeze drying and then cleaning the books began. The boxes stay in the freeze drying chambers for about a week.
Books that come out of the freeze dry chambers with mold on them are gamma radiated to kill the mold spores, and books with pages that dry wavy are pressed flat. After that, all items that are in acceptable condition will be transported back to Manhattan and stored in a leased offsite facility dedicated to clean materials.
“We reviewed the books during our visit,” said Talbot. “We believe that at least 90 percent of the books will come back to Manhattan. Some will be discolored or have wavy pages, but they are still usable. The books that could not be salvaged were those with excessive mold growth on the interior pages.”
Initially, we hoped that some of the books in Hale Library’s Stacks A-H could be cleaned inside the library. Unfortunately, the temperature and the humidity levels in the building are unreliable. It’s been difficult to ensure the consistent power that’s necessary to run the air conditioning units. As a result, more than 1.5 million items in Hale Library will be removed and cleaned offsite.
We are especially concerned about providing an environment that’s appropriate for materials from the Richard L. D. & Marjorie J. Morse Department of Special Collections. Air conditioning is struggling to reach those items on Stack G and H.
Currently, Stack A has been emptied and Belfor is boxing and moving Stacks B and G. We are hoping to have the all eight stack levels emptied by the beginning of September.
Once those books are removed, they’re sent to offsite warehouse space. K-State Libraries has leased three separate buildings where dirty materials are stored. Executive Court, an office building near the airport that was most recently used by the College of Architecture, Planning & Design during the Seaton Hall renovation, has been filled with more than 68,000 boxes of books.
Since we have tens of thousands of additional boxes to accommodate, we’ve also leased space in the Ag Press building in Manhattan and an entire former lumber yard building on the east edge of Junction City.
Obviously, most of our collection will be unavailable during the 2018-19 academic year. However, we still have access to hundreds of databases and other online resources. Current periodicals are located in the Math and Physics library. Course reserves are available so students can access textbooks and other materials at Library Help in the Union. Interlibrary Loan is up and ready for requests if we don’t have what you need.