Kansas State University


Hale Library Blog

Month: June 2020

Top 10 Blog Posts

A graphic that says, "Hale Library Top 10 Blog Post"

This week, we thought it would be interesting to look back at all the stories and updates we’ve posted in the last two years and share the top ten most viewed blog posts. A lot of progress has been made since the 2018 fire in Hale Library, and it is rewarding to see what stories have most resonated with the community following our story.

Below are the top ten most popular blog posts we’ve ever published, along with a quick synopsis of what each post focuses on. Feel free to click around and explore!

#1: After the Hale Library Fire: What’s past is prologue

This was our blog’s very first post, written just a few short weeks after the fire in Hale Library. In the aftermath of the fire, it quickly became apparent to us that we would have quite a story to share, and that the community wanted information about what happened to the library. We also knew people would want to see progress as we began the long journey to restore the building. In this first post, we shared the details of the fire, the heroic actions of the first responders who worked to save the library and pictures of leadership surveying the smoke and water damage.

A picture of Manhattan firefighters on the roof of the library.
Manhattan firefighters on the roof of Hale Library as the sun sets on May 22, 2018. Photo courtesy Manhattan Fire Department.

#2: Hale Library: Week five update

Another early post, this entry shared more pictures of the library after much of the damage had been surveyed. During this time, construction revolved mainly around demolition and removing damaged ceiling, dry wall and carpeting. A lot of the technology and furniture was damaged from soot and had to be disposed of as well.

A picture of a broken pillar decoration on a damaged table.
The Great Room tables sustained a significant amount of water damage from the 2018 fire. Unfortunately, they could not be salvaged.

#3: Building update: We’re in full swing!

This spring, we shared new photos of some of the spaces in Hale Library that were near to completion. This included Joyce and Joe’s Cornerstone Café. We also highlighted the Sunderland Foundation Innovation Lab and efforts by the Digital Fabrication Lab to create face shields for local healthcare workers battling COVID-19.

A picture of Jahvelle Rhone holding a face shield.
Jahvelle Rhone, media coordinator for the Media Center, holds a newly 3D-printed face shield. Jahvelle and the K-State Digital Fabrication Club have been using 3D printers to create these face shields for local healthcare workers.

#4: What happens to wet books?

After the fire, the books in Hale Library sustained damage from water and soot. The wet books underwent a very delicate and special process to prepare them for transportation to a cleaning facility in Texas. Check out this post to learn more about how wet books are saved.

A picture of many boxes filled with books.
The wet books sat in the Housing and Dining Services freezer before they were transported to Ft. Worth, Texas for cleaning.

#5: Exploring alternative study spots with Brenna

The fire in Hale Library made it impossible for students to continue studying in the building. Students were suddenly looking for new places across campus to study, and so we worked with a student, Brenna, to share good study spots that students could make use of while Hale Library was unavailable.

#6: Building Update: Taking Things to the Next Level

We shared this post just a few weeks before the pandemic hit—at the time, we were all prepped for the second floor to open. As such, this post mainly shares photos of the second floor being outfitted with soft seating and computer spaces. We also shared pictures of the lattice work wood ceiling being finalized in the Great Room.

A picture of the Great Room ceiling woodwork.
In February, most of the Great Room ceiling woodwork was completed, including the tresses and purlins.

#7: Hale Library featured on “Rescue Heroes”

In January of 2019, Hale Library and the emergency first responders who responded to the fire were profiled in “Rescue Heroes: Global Response Team.” The episode gives an overview of the fire, including interviews from rescue and recovery personnel, students and faculty. You can watch the segment highlighting Hale Library at the YouTube video we link to in the post.

#8: Building Update: It’s all about the atmosphere

In late April, we shared a building update about further progress on the library. The scaffolding in the Great Room came down around that time and the wooden ceiling was completed. Purple lighting was also installed throughout the first and second floors of the building.

A picture of the Great Room lighting from the balcony.
From the fourth floor balcony within the Great Room, you get a great view of the completed ceiling woodwork and the new lighting.

#9: After the Fire: Where are they now?

After the fire, more than 80 K-State Libraries staff and faculty were left without access to an office space. Thankfully, more than 13 offices and departments graciously welcomed our staff into temporary work spaces. In this post, we shared photos about where everybody ended up.

#10: Giving thanks for the Manhattan Fire Department and all first responders

Close to the Thanksgiving holiday in 2018, K-State Libraries staff visited the Manhattan Fire Department Headquarters to say thank you for their work in saving Hale Library. The post features some of the firefighters who helped combat the fire, along with photos of them in action.

A picture of a fire engine in front of Hale Library.
A fire engine extends its ladder onto the northwest corner of Historic Farrell Library. May 22, 2018.

Building Update: the upper floors

As summer approaches, we are closely following the rapid progress being made in Hale Library. This week, we’d like to highlight sections of the library that you might not have seen recent photos of, particularly the upper floors.

But first, an exciting update regarding the Great Room: the original bookshelves that were in the east and west alcoves are undergoing a vigorous repair process!

A picture of crew members repairing bookshelves.
Crew members repair the wooden bookshelves against the walls in the east and west alcoves in the Great Room.
A picture of a crew member varnishing bookshelves.
After the bookshelves are repaired, they are stripped and then varnished by hand. They look beautiful!

In other areas of Historic Farrell Library, further plaster work is being done on the first and second floors. In order to score the plaster, the radiators had to be pulled out. However, they will be repainted and eventually put back into place.

A picture of crew members working around a group of radiators.
The radiators have been pulled out from the wall and will be repainted before being put back into place. In the right hand corner, you can see crew members working on the plaster where the radiators were.
A picture of the third floor hallway, with the ellipse instruction room on the left.
On the left, you can see the ellipse shaped room, which will be a large instruction space made possible by The Friends of the K-State Libraries. On the right are future office spaces. The third floor will also have more books, giving it a more traditional library atmosphere.

Also on the third floor, work continues on multiple office spaces and the graduate student study rooms, located near the entrance to the Great Room. The study rooms will be in the same location they were previously, but they will be much improved.

A picture of the graduate student study rooms space.
The graduate student study rooms on the third floor provide a quiet study space specifically for graduate students.

The Academic Learning Center (ALC) on the fourth floor is also coming along. The ALC is a partnership between K-State Libraries and K-State Athletics that provides space for student athletes to receive academic support, including one-on-one tutoring.

A picture of the ALC overlook balcony.
The entrance to the ALC on the fourth floor overlooks the foyer outside the Great Room which will include a new exhibit space. The “We Are the Dream” mural that was located on the back wall of the ALC has been taken down, cleaned and restored. Once construction is complete, it will return to its original location.

On the fifth floor, mobile shelving is being removed in the Special Collections space in order to replace the mechanical system that moves the shelving units. The system is under the wood flooring and was damaged during the fire.

A picture of a room filled with white shelving units.
The white shelves in the space will actually be re-installed once the system is up and running. We are looking forward to having Special Collections return to this space.

As construction continues on these spaces, the Libraries are also working on a plan to reopen the completed areas of the building later this summer. Keep an eye on our website and the Libraries’ social media feeds for more information as it becomes available.