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Hale Library Blog

Author: Sarah McGreer Hoyt

What Hale Library means to K-State students

The fire was one year ago: May 22, 2018. In the last 12 months, we’ve undertaken a recovery and restoration project of massive proportions.

The new building is beginning to take shape. While insurance is expected to cover like-for-like replacement costs, enhancements for Hale Library will require private donor support.

Today our K-State Libraries Student Ambassadors share why a next-generation Hale Library is an important investment for tomorrow’s Wildcats.

You can provide #HelpforHale online today.

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K-State librarians are devoted to helping students and researchers.

Funds from #HelpforHale will equip the new building and its Innovation Lab with technology that will take their work to the next level. Our people will be there to help them every step of the way.

I love not only the beautiful library but also how welcoming and helpful the librarians are. — Jehu Mette, graduate student, economics

Insurance will cover like-for-like replacement costs, but it will require private donor support to take Hale Library from good to great. #HelpforHale funds will create better study spaces, group study rooms and provide more white boards.

Also important for students: more outlets. When Hale Library was dedicated in 1997, our users weren’t carrying laptops, cell phones and other electronics at all times. With #HelpforHale funds, we will be able to increase the number of electronic outlets exponentially.

I love that the new Hale Library will focus on what K-State students and staff want most. — Cassie Wefald, freshman, history

It’s hard to imagine a K-State experience without Hale Library, but students like Kali Poenitske went through their entire freshman year without setting foot inside the building.

A contribution to #HelpforHale will allow us create the new Hale Library that Kali and generations of future students deserve!

I have heard from older students about how much they loved Hale Library. I’m excited to experience that! — Kali Poenitske, freshman, elementary education
Hale was a place where productivity and inquiry were encouraged. I want to experience that again. — Zoe Nicolet, senior, history, philosophy, and gender, women and sexuality studies

The new Hale Library will feature welcoming environments for every student on campus, from quieter quiet spaces to improved graduate student study rooms.

Not only that, but with #HelpforHale funds, we’ll be able to extend our hours and provide a first floor that’s open 24 hours a day.

Hale is my home on campus: I’m there at all hours of the day. — Muhammad Khan, junior, biology
I usually spent at least 10 hours a week in Hale, and most of my friends did, too. — Yasameen Albasri, junior, life sciences

As we bring Hale Library back, we have a window of opportunity to make the heart of campus stronger. Renovations are moving ahead at a furious pace. A contribution to #HelpforHale now will allow us to incorporate the extra features our campus community so richly deserves.

Hale Library was where I first felt like I really fit in on campus. I’m excited to see it come back to life. — Alex Wulfkuhle, senior, family and consumer science education

Building update, week 51

What a difference a year makes! One year ago, finals week was in full swing on the K-State campus, and Hale Library was packed. This year, construction crews started tearing down drop ceilings on Hale’s second floor and framing out new walls on the first floor.

Here’s a visual tour of the latest progress. We’re hoping for an A+!

Three librarians in purple t-shirts stand by carts loaded with purple tote bags and snacks. At right, the same room is empty except for metal construction debris.
At left, Mike Haddock, Kim Bugbee, and Carolyn Hodgson prepare to hand out snacks to studious K-Staters during spring finals week 2018. At right, a pile of metal drop ceiling grid sits in the spot where they stood a year earlier.
Zach Kuntz, Willie and Adam Carr (’19) staff the Library Help Desk, finals week spring 2016.
Hale Library Help Desk, finals week spring 2019.

Here are a few more views of Hale Library’s main floor that will be familiar to our regular visitors.

The entrance to Hale Library’s main floor is filled with construction debris.
More debris fills the east end of the main floor. The space was previously filled with computer carrels and comfortable seating.

Meanwhile, on first floor, they’ve moved past the demolition phase and have begun framing out the walls for the new Dave & Ellie Everitt Learning Commons, opening fall 2019.

In these photos, the yellow pointer on the embedded map indicates where the photographer, Associate Dean Mike Haddock, was standing and which direction he was facing.

The future welcoming entrance to the Dave and Ellie Everitt Learning Commons is located just inside Hale Library’s southeast doors.

Another view of the entrance with the exterior doors visible at left. 
A construction worker on an aerial lift installs insulation in one of two future seminar rooms on the south side of Hale Library’s first floor.
Crews install ductwork and metal framing in the future Dave & Ellie Everitt Learning Commons. This space will feature multiple reservable study rooms for six to eight students.
Another view of the Dave & Ellie Everitt Learning Commons. The glass-walled reservable study rooms will be equipped with technology so students can work on group projects, practice presentations, video conference and more.
Walls are going up around a future “partner space,” a spot where campus service providers, from tutoring to financial advising, can meet with students in a convenient setting that’s open 24-hours-a-day.
Construction workers operating a mini-excavator are visible through the metal framing of the future Innovation Lab.
In the former Einstein Bros., a trench for new outflow pipes sits covered with plywood. The improvements were needed in order to bring Hale Library’s future cafe space up-to-code.

We hope everyone involved in spring finals week 2019 finishes strong. We look forward to seeing you in Hale Library’s Dave & Ellie Everitt Learning Commons for finals week next fall.

And congratulations graduates! Please come see us for a tour when you return to campus for a visit!

Finals week, when we were all in Hale together

Next week is finals week.

While students are buckling down in study spots across campus, we’re feeling nostalgic. If you ever wanted to capture the spirit of Hale Library pre-fire, you couldn’t find a better time than a Sunday or Monday during finals week.

Every table was packed, and every white board was crammed with notes and diagrams. The building itself seemed to hum with the sound of K-Staters prepping for exams or finishing papers.

This week we look back on some of the end-of-semester moments in which — it felt to us — Hale Library lived its fullest life.

A collage of K-State students in different parts of Hale Library.
Some lighter moments from students’ own photos on social media, including stunting in the Great Room, white board artistry, plenty of snack time and a handstand in the stacks. Clockwise from upper left, Instagram users @lpilney, @landonwingerson, @gonzoschmonzo, @squirrelly_fiascos, @kalipitcock, and @jess__nes.

Granted, there are K-Staters who used the building all year long, day in, day out, who claimed that finals week was for amateurs. We loved it, though, because during finals week the hard work and the camaraderie were writ large. It was on display at every table, on every floor … and sometimes even on the floor.

When there aren’t any tables, the floor works just fine. May 8, 2016. 

Unexpected special guests would stop by. Sometimes it was Willie Wildcat, or at the end of the fall semester, it might be a brass band playing holiday carols. Prof. Kelly Welch from Family Studies used to show up with dozens of pizzas that she distributed to surprised and grateful students.

Willie fills in at Library Help. May 9, 2016.

Local businesses Einstein Bros. Bagels, Jimmy Johns, Mr. Goodcents,  Bluestem and Varsity Donuts regularly donated food. The lines stretched the length of the second floor as students took a break for snacks, caffeine and words of encouragement from our library employee volunteers.

Last May, the KSU Foundation donated goodie bags that we distributed across Hale Library’s five floors.

A studious Wildcat poses with her KSU Foundation goodie bag. May 8, 2018.
A student shows off a note of encouragement. May 8, 2018.

All of this is to say that we are keenly aware that it’s finals week once more, and we’re sad that we’re not all in Hale together.

Of course, students can still contact a librarian for help with research, and they can check out their textbooks on reserve at Library Help in the K-State Union,  and they can interlibrary loan whatever they need for their final papers.

Goodie bags from KSU Foundation. May 8, 2018.

And behind the scenes, we’ll be planning for a glorious return to Hale Library in fall 2019 when the Dave & Ellie Everitt Learning Commons opens on the first floor.

We’re looking forward to it so much. And we’ll be sure it’s equipped with so many white boards, group study spaces and all of the outlets students need for their laptops and phones — you won’t believe how many outlets!

Until then, good luck on finals, Wildcats! Everyone at K-State Libraries is cheering for you!

Group study sesh. May 4, 2017.

Does this rusty stapler spark joy?

It isn’t often you get to make a fresh start, but this week my fellow K-State Libraries employees and I cast off the old in a Marie Kondo ritual of sorts.

After the fire, everything salvageable in our sodden and soot-stained offices was boxed up and moved into storage. We were all assigned new offices in one of ten different buildings across campus and—each according to our unique circumstances and job changes—began navigating a post-fire existence.

We all reacted and adapted in our own ways.

The same held true this week as we took turns visiting a storage facility near the Manhattan Regional Airport to sift through the boxes from our Hale Library offices that have been packed away for almost a year.

At left, Kay Rieder, a restoration specialist with Belfor Property Restoration, meets with K-State Libraries employees Robin Brown, Kendra Spahr, Jesica Sellers and Sara Kearns in the staging area where they opened their boxes. April 29, 2019. 

Staff members had to decide which work-related possessions they wanted to have cleaned and which items weren’t worth saving.

Some employees found the process liberating. “Man, I should have gotten rid of that paper a long time ago,” academic services librarian Sara K. Kearns said, after offloading arm loads of files destined for the shredder.

Others—especially those who have worked in Hale Library for decades—felt a renewed sense of loss.

Most librarians I spoke with said that they had already retrieved the possessions that were most important to them when we were allowed in the building for the first time on May 30, 2018.

Just a week after the fire, we signed in with security, donned hardhats and solemnly filed through the dark, hot library carrying our flashlights. While we navigated puddles, sagging ceiling tiles and random debris, I was in disbelief at the amount of damage we found around every corner.

A group of twelve people dons orange emergency vests, hard hats and respirators.
K-State Libraries faculty and staff members prepare to enter Hale Library to retrieve personal belongings. May 30, 2018. 

In my third floor office cubicle, I grabbed framed photos, artwork, and a two-drawer wooden card catalog that sat on my desk. At the last minute, I stacked a potted plant on top of my armload.

Those few belongings went home with me. The plant—now thriving—sits on my refrigerator, where it gets a lot more sun than it ever did in 313 Hale Library.

A office cubicle is strewn with binders, cords, technology, and office supplies; plastic sheeting meant to protect the space from water damage sits wadded in a puddle on the floor.
Office cubicles in the information technology area on second floor were especially hard-hit with water damage. June 11, 2018.

Some offices were in much worse condition than mine, and those library employees salvaged very little.

“It was pretty surreal visiting the office for the first time after the fire,” librarian Melia Fritch said. “The most disturbing thing was going into to our office and feeling like FEMA had been through since there were these orange spray-painted words like ‘demo’ all over the walls. That was weird.”

Memories of that first post-fire visit came into focus this week as I watched my coworkers open their boxes.

Kearns recovered dozens of books that will be treated in the ozone chamber to eliminate the smell of smoke before she reclaims them. After making quick work of her paper files, she opened several long, flat packages wrapped in cardboard.

Two of them turned out to be prints she bought in Japan while visiting her brother.

A woman wearing a blue jacket holds a long framed red, black and white print.
Kearns smiles as she shows us art she hadn’t expected to recover. April 29, 2019.

“These were on the wall that water absolutely poured down when it drained from third floor to our offices on the second floor,” she said. “I can’t believe they aren’t covered in mold. They’re grimy and they need to be cleaned, but they’re totally fine.”

Senior graphic designer Tara Marintzer approached the process wondering if she’d have similar surprises. “It’s a mystery. I have no idea what I’ll find or whether there’s anything even worth saving.”

A women in a blue jacket stands at left and a women in a black hoodie kneels at right as they
Kearns and Kendra Spahr sift through boxes of paperwork. “There’s something in here called a ‘facsimile,'” Spahr joked. April 29, 2018. 

“After the fire, my new plan was to be more digital,” Marintzer added. “No more paper files.”

In all, nearly 1,000 boxes of office contents were packed out of Hale Library. The recovery crews that boxed up employee belongings didn’t always know what belonged to whom, so there has been some confusion along the way.

Kearns opened up one box marked with her name and said, “I have no idea who anyone is in these photos. This isn’t mine.”

A coworker glanced over and recognized that the images were of Kristin Hersh, lead singer of Throwing Muses, so then we knew that the box must belong to librarian Thomas Bell, who writes about the history of rock and roll. Gradually, the boxes that remain will make their way back to their rightful owners.

For employees who had a lot to sort through, decision fatigue set in.

At left, a man in a brown hoodie reaches into a cardboard box sitting on a table in front of him. At right, a woman in a purple polo shirt holds a clipboard.
Jason Bengtson, head of information technology services, sorts through a box while Sellers waits to check it off of the inventory list. May 1, 2019. 

“I had 80 boxes to open,” Kathryn Talbot, preservation coordinator, said. “By the end, I was throwing things out a lot faster.”

As I write this, I haven’t had my turn yet to open the boxes. I don’t know what I’ll find, but I can’t think of anything that I miss.

It’s a good reminder of the most important things about the fire, though: There were no lives lost. There weren’t any injuries. Everyone came out safe.

Most things can be replaced, or—in the case of Hale Library’s interior—rebuilt so they’re even better than they were before.

When it’s time for the K-State Libraries employees to move back into our offices a few years from now, we’ll be traveling a little bit lighter. A lot of us will be working more digitally, less physically.

And, in a place of honor, my future Hale Library space will feature a healthy spider plant survivor.

Two women carrying boxes walk on a concrete driveway in front of a red brick building.
Darchelle Martin and Sarah McGreer Hoyt walk out of the storage facility each carrying a single box of things they wanted to keep. May 1, 2019. 

Postscript: I went through my boxes a few days after I initially wrote this post. It felt good to offload “stuff” and think instead about the ways in which  working at K-State Libraries still sparks joy.

On the job site with Hutton Construction

The Dave & Ellie Everitt Learning Commons opens in fall 2019. We’re so excited, we’ve done everything we can short of scaling Anderson Hall to shout it from the rooftop spire. This week we talked to the Hutton Construction superintendents in charge of making it happen.

At center left, two men wearing hard hats stand in a construction site next to a concrete pillar.
Mike Watkins and Curt Miller, Hutton Construction superintendents, on Hale Library’s first floor. April 23, 2019. 

Mike Watkins has been in construction for 17 years, including a stints working for a general contractor and as an iron worker. This isn’t his first time on the K-State campus: He worked on the Justin Hall renovation and addition in 2011.

A large group of students wearing white hardhats gather around a long table to look at construction plans and listen to the site superintendent.
Watkins speaks to the Illuminating Engineering Society about the Hale Library renovation project. The group took a tour of the building this week. April 23, 2019.

Curt Miller has been working in the construction field a bit longer.

“I started parking cars when I was 16 for $1.60 an hour,” Miller said. “Then I got a job working on a bridge deck wielding a 90 pound jackhammer. That paid $3.20 an hour.”

One day while he was on the job, Miller said he saw the man on the job site sitting in a pickup and told his coworkers, “I want that guy’s job.”

A man wearing glasses and a white hardhat stands on a construction site next to a stack of red metal pipes leaning on a concrete pillar.
Miller says the historical preservation elements of the Hale Library project appeal to him. At one time, he owned a contracting business specializing in historic renovations. April 23, 2019. 

He was superintendent on a small project by the time he was 21.

Both say that most of the jobs they work on are new construction and remodels; they don’t often work on buildings after a disaster. Because of the fire, the Hale Library project has required them to deal with a lot more remediation than they normally would. They’re used to dealing with asbestos, but in Hale Library they’ve had to remediate old lead paint, plus smoke and soot contaminants, too.

Of course, not all jobs are this large, either. In order to manage work throughout the 400,000-plus square feet, they have a third short-term superintendent, plus five foremen who report directly to them. Additionally, there are approximately seven or eight sub-contractors and as many as 100 workers in Hale Library on any given day.

A construction worker wearing a red hardhat and yellow t-shirt stands behind a yellow mini excavator in a large rectangular doorway. A construction worker uses a remote-controlled mini excavator with a jackhammer attachment to tear out concrete on the first floor. April 23, 2019. 

“It’s a big job,” Miller said. “But I think we have a pretty good team dynamic.”

They say that the penthouse that covers the new roof-top HVAC units has been the biggest challenge so far.

“We had to build a roof over the old roof to protect the library’s fourth floor from the weather,” Watkins said. “Then we removed the old roof and installed the floor. In a normal job, you’d start from the ground up.”

While Hale Library’s users might not find the mechanical room an exciting part of the renovation, the process of watching it come together has been fascinating.

The timeline to get the first floor done by fall 2019 is also challenging.

A typical remodel would have more time built into the front-end for the design process. With the Hale Library renovation, the schedule is compressed, and plans are evolving constantly. It requires the superintendents and their teams to remain flexible and patient.

Watkins also said it will be critical to get the “smarts and parts” in time in order to get them installed and meet the deadline.

“Those are the things like technology—and there’s going to be a lot of it on the first floor—or door handles and other fixtures that don’t get manufactured until the order is placed,” he said.

What are some of the things coming up that Watkins and Miller say we should be looking forward to?

In the distance, a construction worker in a blue hard hat and white t-shirt operates a jackhammer. A worker jackhammers out damaged tile in the first floor sunflower entryway. April 15, 2019. 

They’re almost done with the first floor demolition, and then the framing will get underway.

They’re also working hard to get the rooftop air handlers online by May 1. Once they’re in the penthouse and functioning, they’ll help keep Farrell Library cool this summer. It will also help with air flow through the oldest parts of the building where they are working to lower the humidity and dry out the plaster.

While we were visiting with Watkins and Miller, we ran into K-State Student Ambassadors Tel Wittmer and Maddy Mash taking their own Hale Library tour, and we asked them what they thought.

A woman with long dark hair and a tall blond man wear white hardhats and pose on a flat rooftop.
Maddy Mash and Tel Wittmer on the roof of Hale Library withe the spire of Anderson Hall in the background. April 23, 2019.

“I think students are going to love all of the different types of study spaces,” Mash said. “And it will be great to have more natural light. That’s really exciting, too.”

Mash and Wittmer will be traveling across Kansas this year to talk about everything K-State, and now they’re prepared to answer questions about Hale Library.

If our readers have any questions for us or for Hutton Construction superintendents Mike Watson and Curt Miller, leave them in the comments!

 

Preview Hale Library’s transformation

Today’s Hale Library is cavernous, dimly lit, dusty and loud. Showers of sparks fly as work crews weld new pipes in place. A jackhammer clanks and stutters as they remove damaged entryway tiles.

Tomorrow’s Hale Library? It will be welcoming, well-lit and comfortable.

Having a hard time picturing it? Maybe this will help:

Right now on the first floor, workers on aerial lifts install new pipes and duct work. Metal studs cover the limestone facade of the 1955 stacks addition.

But when the Dave & Ellie Everitt Learning Commons opens on Hale Library’s first floor in fall 2019, this wall will be partially covered by white board surfaces, offering plenty of room for students to study and collaborate.

Sections of the limestone will remain uncovered, though. It’s one of the many ways the renovated Hale Library will deliver new, needed amenities for students while honoring the building’s long history.

We can picture it already–the return of the marathon white board study sesh:

Students take a break from studying for their Human Body final, December 2017.

And students will be able to access those white boards at all hours of the day because–drumroll please!–the Dave and Ellie Everitt Learning Commons will be open 24/7.

We’ll be able to close the first floor off from the rest of the building so that students can have the study space they need when they need it–even if that’s at 3:00 a.m.

Damaged sections of drywall have been removed from the old white board study area on second floor, and it’s ready for a revamp. April 15, 2019. 

When the second floor opens in spring 2020, it will feature a similar white board wall.

The first and second floors of the 1927 building, Historic Farrell Library, will open during one of the last phases. When they do open, though, the amazing natural light and plaster work will take center stage.

Previously, few Wildcats ventured into these rooms as they were densely packed with collections and office cubicles.

In the renovation, they’ll be transformed into public gathering spots. The second floor (shown above) will feature current periodicals and plenty of comfortable seating.

The second floor of Historic Farrell Library has been cleaned out and is ready for its rebirth as our campus’s new living room. Previously, it was home to staff cubicles. April 15, 2019. 
Wood salvaged from Historic Farrell Library sits on the first floor of the 1927 building. It will be reused throughout the renovated Hale Library. April 15, 2019. 

Directly below that living room space, the first floor of the 1927 building will include the same comfortable seating plus juvenile literature and curriculum materials, some of our highest use collections.

And for those of you wondering about food and drink options, rest assured that the Dave & Ellie Everitt Learning Commons will include an exciting new dining venue.

Named in honor of the Hale Family, the new café area will feature a warm,  welcoming seating area with wood details salvaged from Historic Farrell Library. Visitors will be able to choose from a variety of settings in which to enjoy a meal or a cup of coffee, including comfortable lounge chairs situated around a large two-sided fireplace, a feature frequently requested by students.

We look forward to sharing more photos as these spaces come to life. If you have questions about the planned space, ask them in the comments section.

And if you’d like to help make the future of Hale Library a reality, visit our Help for Hale webpage or contact Chris Spooner, KSU Foundation Associate Vice President of Development Programs, at 785-775-2130 or chriss@ksufoundation.org.

See plans for the new Hale Library!

You want of-the-moment updates? You know you can find them here on the blog!

Looking for something more? Don’t miss the latest issue of K-State Libraries Magazine.

A white hard hat, a sledge hammer, and a copy of K-State Libraries Magazine sit on a concrete background.

Our spring 2019 issue is online and in mailboxes now!

We’ve got a big-picture update on the future of Hale Library, including a sneak peek of the Dave and Ellie Everitt Learning Commons, opening fall 2019. You’ll also find dramatic renderings of the Innovation Center and working designs for new study spaces, meeting rooms and more.

 

A gray watercolor-style portrait of a woman with short hair and glasses sits next to a graphic reading "Q&A with Dean Goetsch."

Want the latest news about insurance reimbursements? In our Q&A with Dean Lori Goetsch, she shares all there is to know about insurance and the cost of renovating Hale Library.

“I never realized how complicated it would be to negotiate an insurance settlement of this magnitude,” Dean Goetsch said. “Hale Library is so large, and it was packed with furniture and technology. The insurance adjustors and all of the various parties have been working for months to estimate the costs.”

A purple and white graphic reads "Hale Library Renovation Timeline: Fall 2019, Portions of first floor complete ... etc."

And when will all of this happen? The building will reopen in phases, with the Dave & Ellie Everitt Learning Commons opening up first, in fall 2019.

At left, tall bar chairs line a cafe counter. The ceiling is covered with dark wood paneling in geometric shapes. At right, low lounge chairs flank a contemporary-style fireplace.
Old meets new in a renovated first floor café space named for the Hale Family. Additional naming opportunities exist throughout the renovated building.

Of course, Hale Library won’t live its best new life without our friends and supporters. If you like what you see in the magazine preview, visit Help for Hale to join in our effort to create a next-generation library.

An illustrated graphic of cardboard boxes and a man lifting seven blue whales reads, "Hale move-out: We moved 1105 tons of books, the equivalent of seven blue whales."

What about the books? Thanks to hundreds of workers who put in thousands of hours, more than 1.5 million collection items were packed out in less than 17 weeks. Until Hale Library is renovated, the entire collection will be stored in multiple air-conditioned warehouses across the region.

We estimate that all 1.5 million items could be clean by July 2019. Even better news: We anticipate that more than 99 percent of the materials will be saved.

Read more about the process of cleaning and storing more than 147,700 boxes of materials!

Two blonde, smiling women stand in an aisle with packed bookshelves on both sides.
Melia Fritch and Cindy Logan: professors, office mates, collaborators.

Even without the building, K-State’s librarians are working hard to elevate research on the K-State campus.

Visit the magazine to read about two librarians who have forged a unique partnership with K-State’s athletic training program. Melia Fritch and Cindy Logan don’t just help students complete assignments, they equip them to excel in their chosen professions.

A black-and-white photo of a castle-style building engulfed in flames is overlaid with text reading "50 years ago"For K-Staters of a certain age, the big campus fire isn’t Hale Library but rather Nichols Gymnasium. Did you know that after a major conflagration 50 years ago, the limestone skeleton of Nichols Gym stood unrestored for almost two decades before it became Nichols Hall? Learn more from the latest installment of K-State Keepsakes in—where else?!—our magazine!

Be the first to learn about great stories like these! Don’t miss an issue of K-State Libraries Magazine. Click here to receive a copy in your mailbox.

Wide open spaces

The walls came tumbling down on Hale Library’s first floor last week! We have even more great shots of the demolition and the dramatic progress going on behind that purple construction fence.

A light shines in a partially visible room at left, lighting up a concrete room filled with construction debris.
A light in the old vending machine alcove shines through a newly created opening in that space’s north wall.
A man and a woman wearing hard hats walk through a room with concrete floors. Three large square windows are visible at their left.
The wall at left featuring a large bank of windows blocked off the sunflower entryway from the rest of the first floor.
A man with a gray mustache wearing glasses and a white hard hat knocks a hole in a wall with a yellow-handled sledgehammer.
Associate Dean Mike Haddock did his best Wreck-It Ralph impersonation on the wall that separated the sunflower entrance from the rest of the first floor.
A petite dark-haired woman wearing glasses and a white hardhat knocks a small chunk of plaster out of the wall with a hammer.
Associate Dean Sheila Yeh takes a whack at the wall.
Four men, two on the ground and two elevated on scaffolding, are seen from behind pieces of metal framing lowering a piece of drywall to the floor.
Construction workers lower a large section of drywall and metal framing to the ground after creating an opening between the sunflower entrance doors and the rest of the first floor.
A construction worker wearing a florescent yellow shirt and white hard hat throws a crumpled chunk of metal framing on a pile.
A construction worker throws a section of metal framing on a pile of debris. They are recycling all of the materials that they can.
Two men wearing white hardhats and gloves push a cart with a large square piece of glass on it.
Two construction workers wheel out a window pane that allowed visitors at the sunflower entrance to look into the first floor but prevented them from walking into the space.
A large concrete entryway with metal and concrete pillars.
As of this week, the entire wall is gone and the sunflower entrance opens directly into the first floor. This will be the main entryway for the Dave & Ellie Everitt Learning Commons, which will open fall 2019.
In the distance, sun shines in wood and glass entryway, lighting up a dusty room filled with concrete floors and pillars
A view of the sunflower entrance from inside the first floor. Note that the alcove where the vending machines were has also been removed.

A construction worker uses a remote-controlled mini excavator to pull down duct work in front of the first floor elevators. 

The entire first floor has been opened up, and the walls that separated Einstein Bros. Bagels from the rest of the space are gone. A new cafe area named for the Hale Family will be constructed closer to the Learning Commons entrance. 
A rough yellow and gray painting of Hale Library about five feet high stretches the length of a yellow concrete block wall. A pile of bent and broken wiring conduit sits in the foreground.
When crews removed drywall from a wall behind the first floor librarian offices, they discovered a mural of Hale Library painted on the concrete block.

Three construction workers stand in a concrete room surrounded by debris on the floor in and several large trashcans.

As the space opens up, we can more clearly envision what the Dave & Ellie Everitt Learning Commons will look like. Stay tuned! Next week we’ll share drawings from the architects at PGAV so you, too, can get a glimpse of Hale Library’s first floor in its fall 2019 state!

Tearing down the walls

Demolition and construction are in full swing in Hale Library!

When we visited on Monday, March 26, more than 60 workers swarmed through the building.

On the first floor, they were stripping out drywall and tearing down walls in preparation for the creation of the Dave & Ellie Everitt Learning Commons, opening Fall 2019.

One feature of the Learning Commons? Improved access! If you’ve visited Hale Library, you know it has two exterior entrances: One at the end of a long ramp that originates at the southwest corner and one at the opposite end of the building near Mid-Campus Drive. The latter is called the sunflower entrance because of the wrought-iron sunflower sculpture above its doors.

Previously, when a visitor used the sunflower entrance, they came inside and encountered a wall of windows that blocked their access to the first floor. Instead, they had to climb the stairs or take an elevator to the second floor in order to enter through the main gates. Another trip down the stairs or the elevator was required to get back down to the first floor.

Unsurprisingly, this configuration baffled Hale Library’s visitors and first-time users (and frankly, even K-Staters who have been around for awhile).

Associate Dean Mike Haddock takes a swing at the wall that separated the sunflower entrance from the first floor.

But no more! This week, the wall came down. When Hale Library’s first floor reopens in fall 2019, visitors will walk through the sunflower entrance directly into the Dave & Ellie Everitt Learning Commons on Hale Library’s first floor.

That’s one small step for Associate Dean Haddock, one giant leap for future visitors to the Dave & Ellie Everitt Learning Commons! Haddock enters the first floor through the opening created during demolition.

Progress!

Meanwhile, on the third floor, workers are installing new duct work in the Great Room ceiling.

The new duct work will improve ventilation and heating and cooling throughout the oldest parts of the building. 
Workers wrap insulation around new duct work in the Great Room.
A crew removes debris in the attic space immediately south of the Great Room, just above the Academic Learning Center.

Outside, on the north side of the building, scaffolding is going up in preparation for an imminent roofing project.

A crane is parked nearby on the south edge of the quad. It is maneuvering steel beams from the roof into a space above the fourth floor Academic Learning Center where the fire started.

The north side of Historic Farrell Library (the 1927 section of the Hale Library building).
The crane extends over Historic Farrell Library’s roof and moves the beams through a gap in the penthouse wall, which is below and to the right of the crane’s lifting hook.

Since the crane operator on the ground can’t see over the building, the workers rely on communication via wireless radio to complete every step of the process.

A worker on Hale Library’s roof guides a steel beam into the penthouse and onto a winch system in the ceiling that moves the beam into place. 
Two steelworkers position the beam. Most of the walls are black from years of roofing tar, but in this photo, the wall behind the worker in the florescent yellow shirt was also blackened by the fire.  
Associate Deans Sheila Yeh and Mike Haddock look on. 

From the outside, Hale Library appears quiet and empty. On the inside, it’s a different scene entirely. We look forward to bringing you more construction updates in the coming weeks.

Two workers clean debris from the attic space adjacent to the Great Room.

The Hobrock Award Nominees

Award season continues! If they created an all-team Big 12 librarian category, these would be our contenders: They’ve all been nominated for the Brice G. Hobrock Distinguished Faculty Award.

The Hobrock Award was established by the Friends of K-State Libraries to honor Dean Emeritus Hobrock upon his retirement in 2004. Annually, the award recognizes outstanding librarianship and superior accomplishments among the K-State Libraries faculty.

Nominees are evaluated based on their professional activities during the last two years. One recipient is honored with a plaque of recognition and an award of $1,000.

Jo Crawford was nominated for her dedication to securing the best possible journal prices in the face of increasingly difficult economic conditions.

Collection development librarians oversee purchases and subscriptions, deaccession underused materials and make other strategic decisions regarding how the Libraries spends their acquisitions dollars.

Jo, who currently focuses on science materials, has worked in this challenging field since 2011. The Libraries currently spend about $5 million each year on subscriptions to electronic databases and journals. However, publishers have been raising their prices for years.

Jo’s nominator noted that she has been a dedicated employee, working long hours in Hale Library to find the best prices possible in order to get the materials our researchers need, even in the face of inexorable subscription increases.

Casey Hoeve, associate professor, was nominated for outstanding scholarship and leadership.

Like other K-State faculty members, our librarians conduct research, write journal articles and books, and present and lead committees for professional associations in their field of study.

Casey’s nominator said, “Casey has worked very hard … as co-chair of the Libraries, Archives, & Museums area for the Popular Culture Association … . He attends area chairs meetings, chairs all panels (often 8-10 panels per conference) … reviews paper proposals and handles a multitude of questions that come to the area chairs prior to a conference. Additionally, he has presented at the conference and his papers are exceptional.”

And finally, they noted the excellent work Casey has done as a collection development librarian for the arts and humanities in a challenging economic environment: “[H]e has worked diligently over the past two years to work with academic departments as K-State Libraries has continued to cancel serials due to ongoing budget constraints.”

Char Simser, professor, was nominated for professional excellence and patient mentorship.

Char, coordinator of electronic publishing, works hand-in-hand with the editors who create their online scholarly journals through K-State Libraries’ online open access publisher, New Prairie Press. There is a significant amount of setup work associated with creating a new journal, and Char has helped dozens of organizations navigate that process.

In the fall of 2017, the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA) sought to publish a new journal, NACADA REVIEW, with New Prairie Press. Char’s nominator from NACADA said, “Char has been with us every step of the way.”

“Char’s expertise is invaluable as our editors … [prepare] for the inaugural issue. For Char, no question is too ‘dumb.’ Her explanations are straight forward, her patience boundless, her advice golden. In short, this journal would not exist without Char’s expertise. … [she] is truly an excellent resource and colleague for K-State faculty, and takes the mission of the open access community to heart.”

Ellen Urton, associate professor, was nominated for outstanding contributions in support of faculty teaching.

Not all students come to K-State prepared to conduct college-level research. Academic librarians address that challenge by teaching research skills in classrooms across campus. In fact, K-State’s librarians often collaborate with other faculty members and become co-teachers or research partners.

Ellen Urton is a devoted teaching partner. She has long supported the Landscape Architecture and Regional and Community Planning (LARCP) program through hands-on instruction. However, according to her nominator, “she eclipsed all of her past efforts through her recent collaboration on LAR101 ‘Introduction to Landscape Architecture.’”

Ellen collaborated with an LARCP professor and graduate student to develop a course from scratch: “Ellen’s vast expertise of resources, learning models and concrete teaching methods complimented her creativity for course structure and content development,” her nominator said. “Once the semester began, Ellen helped students directly by providing feedback on their work … . I can state with absolute certainty that [their] was significantly enriched by Ellen’s diligent contributions.”

The winners will be announced at the All-Staff Recognition Ceremony on  Wednesday, March 27. Congratulations to the nominees!

 

Destruction, demolition and new construction

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.

A map illustrates 10 of K-State's university buildings. with Hale Library located at the center. A small red mark is at Hale's upper left corner.

To help give you a sense of the site of our first photos, the jagged red spot above marks the location of the fire.

Two peaked plywood roofs stand about four feet high in the foreground. An attic-like space is situated on a ledge above and behind them.

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. In an attic-like space, a charred wall is at the right. The floor is missing except for some support beams, so you can see through to the room below.

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.

A pile of rubble sits at the base of a metal staircase.

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.At the left, a worker in a blue hardhat stands on a staircase. A shower of sparks rains down from the next flight of stairs on the right.

After the concrete was hauled out, crews used blowtorches to disassemble the frames of the metal staircases.

A stairwell made of concrete blocks stands nearly empty except for a small piece of metal stairway and a section of red scaffolding.

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!

A computer-generated rendering shows a dozen students scattered around a large room that features tables and chairs of different styles, computer screens, white boards, and a tool board hung with tools in a makerspace setting.
In the Innovation Center, users will generate virtual reality experiences through 360-degree video or 3-D animation. They will create artificial intelligence, edit audio and video and learn to use state-of-the-art technology that is not readily available elsewhere on campus.

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.

A line drawing of the upper left portion of a floor map. Four small pink rectangles are in a horizontal row across the top third of the map.

This is what Mike sees when he turns and faces east-north-east toward Willard Hall and Mid-Campus Drive. A large, shabby room lined with glass windows with small square panes and columns with ornate plaster moldings.

If he turns to face south, he sees a wall of Room 117 opposite the large bank of windows looks like this:

A very thick, worn wall made of limestone and plaster is different shades of white and beige and has several different-sized rectangular windows and doorways.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.

A rough limestone wall is at right. Two narrow rectangular-shaped holes are cut in the floor in front of the wall. Dust and stone debris coats the rest of the floor.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.

A room with a lot of exposed metal wall framing is filled with give large rectangular metal pieces of ductwork wrapped in metallic silver insulation.

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.

A length of metallic silver insulation-wrapped rectangular ductwork is installed in one of the chases in front of the limestone wall.

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.

A worn limestone and plaster wall in shades of off-white and white is punctuated by several rectangular windows and door. Several of those spaces are now blocked by the air vents wrapped in metallic silver ductwork.

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 libcomm@ksu.edu!

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.

Hale Library update from PGAV architects

On Feb. 13, 2019, architects from PGAV joined K-State Libraries all-staff meeting to discuss next steps for the Hale Library renovation.

Four people stand in a cluster in discussion at the front of a classroom with white walls.
IT coordinator Renee Gates, architects Pat Duff and Jennifer Goeke and Dean Lori Goetsch confer following the February all-staff meeting.

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.

A man stands with a microphone at the front a room. At right a PowerPoint slide is projected on the wall.
Mike Schaadt of PGAV architects gives Libraries employees an update at the February meeting.

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:

A man stands at right. A graphic purple background to his left says "Quiet study is good, but it doesn't have to be absolutely silent. A table with a lot of space is important. I like to spread out."

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.

A group of three students sits in the lower left in front of a graphic purple background with two quotes: "I like windows and natural light," and "We definitely need outlets."

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!

A man stands at right in front of a graphic purple background with a quote that reads, "I'd like to see smaller rooms for smaller group sessions."

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.

 

 

A floor-by-floor progress update

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.

The K-State community gets a glimpse of the new Hale Library

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!)

A man looks at a poster that includes various options for library seating and desks.
Chance Braun, sophomore in construction science

“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.”

Molly Banwart, senior in social science, and Emma Pettay, sophomore in anthropology

“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.”

Anna Ellul, freshman, feed science management, and Angela Oliver freshman, interior design

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.”

Ashton Strub, senior in apparel textile emphasis on marketing

“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.”

Camree Mills-Gladney, junior in communications

“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 Moylan, junior in construction science, pictured with interior designer Andrea Brundis ’13, PGAV interior designer.

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!

Watch, read and wear all things 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.

WATCH

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.

Hale Library: A Next Generation Library from KSU Foundation on Vimeo.

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!

READ

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.

Two issues of K-State Libraries Magazine, one open and one closed, lie on a wooden surface. Both feature photos of firefighters outside Hale Library during a fire.
When we were planning this issue last spring, we didn’t think we’d feature firefighters on the cover.

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.

WEAR

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:

Willie the Wildcat 💜
Librarians from USD 383 and the Manhattan Public Library. (They surprised us with this photo, and it still makes us tear up a little.)
K-State Libraries student employees, from left to right: Patrick Dittamo, Skyler Gilbert, Hawa Dembele, Carleigh Whitman and Andrew Le.

Giving thanks for the Manhattan Fire Department and all first responders

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.

Librarians and firefighters gather for a photo in front of a firetruck.
Left to right: Mike Haddock, A.J. Mueller, Battalion Chief Jason Hudson, Rebekah Branch, Carol Sevin, Brenna Leahy, Jesica Sellers, Robin Brown, Nick Clark, Captain Micah Hydeman, Darchelle Martin, Sarah McGreer Hoyt, and Captain Lou Kaylor. November 16, 2018.

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?”

Yellow crime scene tape stretches across the foreground. A red fire truck with a metal ladder extends onto the roof of a limestone building.
A fire engine extends its ladder onto the northwest corner of Historic Farrell Library. May 22, 2018.

“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.’

A firefighter stationed at the southwest corner of Hale Library sprays water onto the rooftop fire. May 22, 2018.

“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.

More than 70 firefighters and a dozen emergency vehicles responded to the scene. May 22, 2018. 

“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 ….

Firefighter Nate Hollenbeck rests after a shift inside of Hale Library. May 22, 2018. 

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.”

Captain Dan Newton tells Sarah McGreer Hoyt about his team’s experience fighting the Hale Library fire. November 16, 2018. 

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.

Two side-by-side photos show firefighters climbing to the roof to fight the fire.
At left: Crews access the roof via scaffolding that was erected as part of a roofing project. At right: A firefighter climbs an extension ladder to access the roof at the northwest corner of Historic Farrell Library. May 22, 2018.

“[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.

Two firefighters in full protective gear and oxygen masks stand at the top of a metal extension ladder while accessing a small window in the peak of a limestone building.
Firefighters cut through wood to access the attic via a small window on the east end of Historic Farrell Library.

“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.”

Five firefighters in full gear on the scene of the Hale Library fire.
MFD firefighters, from left to right: An unidentified firefighter, Nate Hollenbeck, Captain Clint Castor, Kody Songs and Louie Disney.

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.

 

Basking in the glow of a successful Friends gala

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.”

A round table covered in a black tablecloth, formal white place settings and a centerpiece of purple candles and white hydrangeas is framed by an enormous semi-circle window in the background that covers an entire wall.
Clusters of white hydrangea and lavender candles punctuate the table arrangements.
Two men face away from the camera as they look out over the football field in the Bill Snyder Family Stadium.
Guests enjoy the views afforded by the beautiful West Stadium Center venue.
Gala co-chair Whitney Short, Betsy Young and Steve Short pause to smile for the camera.
A close-up of the table arrangements featuring white hydrangeas and purple cylindrical vases and candles.
Candles featuring quotations from students reflecting on Hale Library’s importance in their lives decorate the tables. Among the favorites: “All I want for Christmas is for Hale Library to be open next semester.” – Josh
A man speaks into a microphone at a lectern, and three screens on the wall glow purple with graphics of Hale Library and quotes from students about what the library means to them.
Long-time Friends member and former president Mark Knackendoffel kicks off the evening’s events.
Surrounded by gala attendees, President Myers, seen in profile, sits facing the stage holding his chin in his hand.
President Richard Myers listens to the presenters.
Dean Goetsch, wearing a black dress, delivers her remarks from behind a lectern emblazoned with the Powercat logo.
Dean Lori Goetsch celebrates the opportunity that lies ahead: “We were prepared to renovate Hale Library’s first floor before the fire. Now we can make improvements on the scale of that renovation over and over and over, from first floor to fifth.”
Ruth Dyer and Mark Knackendoffel dance to music by Dr. Wayne Goins & the Rhythm & Blues Machine.

Four smiling gala attendees, including two students wearing purple student ambassador polo shirts, pose in the middle of the event space that glows with a soft purple light. 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.

The Morse Department of Special Collections opens Bluemont Hall reading room

Post-fire, the Richard L. D. & Marjorie J. Morse Department of Special Collections faculty and staff have offices scattered across campus, and their rare books, manuscripts and more have been boxed up and moved to secure storage facilities.

“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.

Multiple open books and large photographs in both color and black and white are spread across a long table.
Materials include photos, yearbooks, news clippings and more that cover K-State’s history.

“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.

A man wearing glasses and a blazer and tie looks at the camera while sorting through manila file folders in an open filing cabinet drawer.
Patrick Dittamo, special collections employee and graduate student in musicology, searches through subject clipping files in the new reading room.

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.

A close-up of the interior pages of a book covered with abstract drawings, calligraphy, and gold leaf decorations.
The St. John’s Bible is the first completely handwritten and illuminated Bible commissioned by a Benedictine Abbey since the invention of the printing press. K-State Libraries was gifted a Heritage Edition of The Saint John’s Bible, which is a fine art reproduction of the original.

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.

A student standing behind a table covered in open books, news clippings and photographs hands a black-and-white photo to a student seated next to her.
Special collections student employees Alex Wulfkuhle and Jarrod Kuckleman examine an array of materials related to the 1968 Nichols Gym fire.

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 libsc@ksu.edu.

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.”

A recent addition to the cookery collection, this untitled two-volume set of Austrian manuscript cookbooks dates from about 1790. It was handwritten in German by an anonymous chef who packed nearly 400 pages with recipes of all kinds.

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.

If all the books were laid end-to-end: Story problems with Hale Library

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 the average storage box filled with books weighs 15 pounds and a large blue whale weighs 300,000 pounds, then 147,400 boxes would weigh more than 1,105.5 tons, which is the equivalent of more than 7 blue whales.

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.

If a storage box measures 12 inches and Mt. Everest is 29,035 feet high, then 147,400 boxes stacked on top of each other would stretch higher than 5 Mt. Everests.

The Backstory

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.

A row of political science books in several different colors on a white metal shelf is lit by flashlight.
In addition to the items in Room 117, the books behind the Library Help Desk on the second floor were soaked, too. As water caused them to expand and press against each other, the wet volumes began to arc off of the shelves.
After the wet books were packed out, their outlines were starkly visible in the soot that coated the white metal shelves. May 31, 2018. 

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.

A worker surrounded by boxes wears a headlamp and yellow hard hat and vest while writing in a notebook that rests on a bookshelf next to her.
Belfor workers pack special collections materials out of the Morse Department of Special Collections’ Stack H. August 31, 2018.
Next to a long row of bookshelves, a worker wearing a black hooded jacket and a headlamp over a white construction hat kneels while placing a cookbook in a box with one hand and taking notes with the other.
A crew member packs volumes from the cookery collection, which is one of the top research collections of its kind in the United States. It contains thousands of cookbooks and related volumes that date from 1487 to the present. August 31, 2018.

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.

Woman wearing white hard hat, ventilation mask and neon orange emergency vest works by flashlight and pulls a large red book off of a bookshelf.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.

In an underground building with rough white stone walls, a man in a black t-shirt and shorts stands by the tail-end of an open semi trailer and directs the driver on backing up.
A semi truck backs a load of boxes into the Libraries’ cave space at Underground Vaults & Storage in Kansas City, Mo. August 13, 2018. 

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.

Hundreds of boxes fill an underground cave with white-painted rough rock walls and gray concrete floors.
In the Kansas City caves. August 22, 2018.
Hundreds of boxes fill an underground cave with white-painted rough rock walls and gray concrete floors.
Until then, old friends, be well! (And, yes, I’m talking to the books. We really love our collection.)

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.

A Night of Illumination: Creating a bright future for Hale Library

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.

A purple candle emblazoned with text that says "Hale of a Time" stands on a table in the Great Room, which is lit up with purple lights.
In 2017, the theme was “Hale of a Time,” and guests traveled to various food and entertainment stations throughout the building.

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.

Willie the Wildcat gives high fives to a crowd of gala attendees gathered in the Great Room.
Our celebration in West Stadium Center won’t be the first time we’ve collaborated with K-State Athletics on a gala: In 2014 we teamed up to raise funds for improvements to a classroom used by Academic Learning Center, the athletic tutoring space in Hale Library.

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.

Dressed in a black suit, purple shirt, and purple and black tie, Dr. Goins smiles at his band mates while playing his guitar.
Dr. Wayne Goins always delivers music that makes a party feel special.
A table in the Great Room decorated with construction materials like cement blocks holds a large bouquet of yellow forsythia and trays of hors d'oeuvres.
The 2016 theme was “Constructing the Future,” and the event raised funds for the first floor renovation. Once again, the food at this year’s  gala will be impressive and plentiful.

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.

The Great Room is filled with tables of gala guests and washed in purple lights. Spotlights highlight the art deco murals along one wall.
Attendees to this year’s gala will help raise the funds we need to return the Great Room and Hale Library to its full glory.

Questions? Contact Darchelle Martin at 785-532-7442 or martin05@k-state.edu.

Catching up with K-State Librarians

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.

Renee Gates, IT coordinator for Libraries’ Information Services & Technology (LIST), in her new Seaton Hall office. She has worked for K-State Libraries for 27 years.

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 Ireton, academic services librarian, is an associate professor who works primarily with faculty and students in philosophy, political science, and theater and dance. He’s been with the Libraries for 13 years.

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.”

Mary Bailey is the continuing resource librarian. Her career in military, public, school, and higher education librarianship has spanned 40 years. She’s currently in the Unger Complex.

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!”

Carolyn Hodgson has worked for K-State Libraries for 22 years. Currently, she’s in charge of the reserves materials collection and works out of Seaton Hall.

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.

Cleaning house: Week eighteen update

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.

Dozens of unvarnished, clean wooden beams of different shapes are arrayed on the floor.
Clean wooden beams from the Great Room ceiling fill Hale Library’s fourth floor. 

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.

The fourth floor woodworking space is walled off with plastic.

Two workers wearing white t-shirts and hard hats stand next to heavy pieces of wood resting on sawhorses.Crew members from John Canning Co. clean and remove varnish from two decorative arch braces that hung in the Great Room. 

A dark-haired man in a white t-shirt and hardhat uses a cloth to wipe a heavy piece of wood sitting on sawhorses.
A worker from John Canning Co. cleans a piece of Great Room woodwork.
Another worker applies stripper to remove coats of old varnish.

Meanwhile, back in the Great Room, conservators continue to monitor and stabilize the David Hicks Overmyer murals.

At left, a worker in a white hard hat stands elevated on a rough wood floor supported by scaffolding. An allegorical mural depicting the arts is to his right.
John Canning staff members have cleaned the murals, removed the damaged layer of varnish, stabilized areas of paint and applied a new layer of varnish.
In a close-up, shadowy view, a woman in a white hard hat and yellow construction best holds an iPad. The handle of a mallet is visible tucked under her right arm.
Julia Manglitz, an architect from TreanorHL Historic Preservation, stands on one of the ledges supported by scaffolding in the Great Room. She explained to us how she tests the condition of the plaster by “sounding,” or tapping the wall with a mallet and listening for how hollow it seems.
A woman's torso and arms are visible; she holds an iPad with a line drawing of the Great Room wall on it in her left hand and points at it with a stylus in her right hand.
Once she’s tested the plaster through sounding, Manglitz creates a visual map of the condition of the wall on her iPad. She reports that many sections are still very wet. (In fact, on the two floors below the Great Room, the moisture level in some of the plaster and stone walls is as high as 80 percent.)
An art deco style painting of a figure with curling brown hair
A figure from the “Arts” mural is covered in white spots of thermoplastic adhesive, which is used to stabilize flaking paint. 

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.

In a room filled with scaffolding, large rectangles of gray fabric cover the murals on the wall. 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.

In the temporary “dance floor” space above the murals (which are barely visible at right), the roof joists are exposed. 

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.

Metal scaffolding extends down a four-story stairwell.
Your daily dose of vertigo is brought to you by the scaffolding in Hale Library’s southeast stairwell, where they recently cleaned walls, railings, light fixtures and the ceilings.
Eight workers in hard hats and yellow construction vests are stationed across the entire length of the floor wielding long-handled scraping tools.
The process of scraping carpet glue on Hale Library’s third floor was a lot labor intensive and a little gross and sticky.  
Library or roller rink? After the glue was scraped off, the concrete and tile floors were cleaned and polished.

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.

Recovery momentum and magical spaces

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.

Here’s looking at you, Hale: A drone’s eye view of the building taken after the fire gives a sense of the phases of construction over the years. Historic Farrell Library (1927) is at the upper left. The white square inside the red circle is a temporary roof that covers areas damaged in the fire. June 21, 2018. 

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.

An alcove on the first floor, south side of Hale Library. June 11, 2018. 

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.

Now imagine that you’re working in here, and those light bulbs go out. August 13, 2018. 

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 surrounded by water pooling on the carpet. May 24, 2018. 

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.

IT computers sit in puddles of water in a cubicle on Hale Library’s second floor directly below the Great Room. May 24, 2018. 

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 second floor office area is clean and empty; at rear of photo, the reserves shelving is wrapped in plastic. September 5, 2018. 
Room 212, former home of IT Services, is a blank canvas. August 10, 2018. 

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.

Charred building material hangs out of a hole in the Great Room ceiling.
A hole in the Great Room ceiling from a wand misfire? Nope, it’s from  fire. July 20, 2018. 
A view of the Great Room taken from above shows a dozen massive, warped wooden tables stand in puddles of water.
Water pooling across the floor, warped tables. May 24, 2018.
A heavy oak acorn finial lies cracked on the floor.
This Hagrid-sized acorn fell from the ceiling. Now, most of the woodwork has been deinstalled (in a much more deliberate and careful manner). It will be refinished prior to reinstallation. August 6, 2018. 

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.

A worker removed paint from a plaster capital to allow water to evaporate from the walls more quickly. July 20, 2018. 
A worker at left removes paint from a pilaster to speed the drying process. At center, a conservation specialist examines fragile portions of the “Arts” mural. July 20, 2018. 
Belfor workers make their way from the first floor to second. Since this photo was taken, the wooden display cases to the right and left of the second floor entrance have been removed. June 11, 2018. 

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.

The bulk of the collection that experienced water damage was located in Room 117. Fortunately, most was deemed salvageable. May 25, 2018. 

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.

The shelving is gone and Room 117 stands empty. August 24, 2018. 
Another view of Room 117 facing west toward the English Department Building. August 24, 2018. 

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.

Week Fifteen Update: A ton of Jenga fun and other developments

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.

The wooden acorn finials (shown on the cart at right wrapped in a green protective covering) weigh 50 pounds each.

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.

Until recently, it was difficult to get up close and personal with the ceiling to photograph the fire damage.

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.

Wooden beams that will be preserved are laid out on the “dance floor.” Every piece is labeled so that once the room has been renovated, it will be possible to reassemble the woodwork.

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.

In order to keep the ceiling repair process moving forward, workers have to take each piece of wood off of the dance floor. Here you can see the scaffolding that supports the floor. 

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!

The ceiling has been removed already in this portion of the Great Room, and the rest of the beams will follow.

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.”

Only a few rooms of special collections materials remain in Hale Library. They’re the last of more than 1.5 million items to leave the building and go into storage where they will be professionally cleaned.

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.

Underground Archive & Storage has facilities across the region; the one we’re using occupies a series of caves created by limestone mining. Given that Hale Library is a massive limestone construction, we think there’s a metaphor here. We’ll let you know when we figure it out.

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.

A group of six librarians and architects sit and stand around a table as one of them points to a print out of a floor plan.
While we wait for information about total damages and insurance, staff are working with PGAV to imagine a library for K-State’s future.

Until then, if you ever have questions you’d like us to address in this blog, please comment below or contact us at libcomm@ksu.edu.

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!

Saving the Great Room murals

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.

Hale Library Great Room – 07/20/2018 – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA

Early June

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.

A woman with one hand resting on red metal scaffolding wears a white construction hat and a yellow safety vest. She stands in the foreground of the Great Room while workers in the background examine the murals on the walls.
Manglitz, a preservation architect with two decades of experience, majored in aeronautical engineering in undergrad. “My bosses at TreanorHL like to joke with people: ‘And this is Julia, our resident rocket scientist.’” July 20, 2018. 

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.”

A line drawing of cross sections of the library building indicates where the fire occurred on the roof, the directions from which water entered the building, and how water flow impacted the murals.
“That hollow area was worse once I got near and below the fourth floor line,” she said. “The Great Room is a two-story space, and the fourth floor meets on the back side of this wall. So the water that hit the fourth floor was then funneled back into the plaster and masonry. The entire thickness got wet; it’s not just where it ran down the face of the wall.” 

Late June

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.

At right, a woman wearing a white hard hat scans the surface of a mural with a hand-held black light device.
A black light allows Gilberti to see damage not visible under normal lighting conditions. July 20, 2018. 

“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.”

A woman with one hand resting on red metal scaffolding wears a white construction hat and a yellow safety vest. She stands in the foreground of the Great Room while workers in the background examine the murals on the walls.
We work with sculpture, murals, paintings, anything that’s in the architectural art realm all over the United States. I’ve been doing this almost 14 years in Europe and the United States. It’s a lot of travel, but you go where the art is, and it’s a great pleasure to see all of this beauty that’s spread throughout the country.

Late July

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.

In the foreground at right, a woman wearing a white hard hat and yellow safety vest applies a white substance onto the wall at left, while in the background, another woman observes the process.
Gilberti oversees conservation specialist Grace Moran administering the thermoplastic adhesive. July 20, 2018. 

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.”

August

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.

In a detail from the art deco style "Arts" mural, an actor in flowing maroon robes extends one arm while the other hand is wrapped around his torso in a dramatic gesture.
Metered moisture readings indicate that the surface of the art mural is around 30%, but the in-wall moisture content at the floor level is at 90%, which is very wet for masonry. “This is the most fragile mural, the one we’re most concerned about,” Manglitz said. “We can’t remove the varnish until we’re more confident that it’s stable.” July 20, 2018. 

“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.

Close-up of the streaking on the surface of the "Arts" Great Room mural which features a female violinist with shoulder-length brown hair.
Detail of the Arts mural. July 20, 2018.

“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.”