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Hale Library Blog

Category: K-State Libraries’ faculty and staff

Home Sweet Hale! First floor now open

At 8 a.m. on Wednesday, August 28, 2019, Dean Lori Goetsch opened the doors to the Dave and Ellie Everitt Learning Commons on Hale Library’s first floor.

Oh, K-State friends. We wish you could have been there. It was a beautiful thing. After 15 long months, our people finally got to come back to their Home Sweet Hale.

It wouldn’t have been possible without the more than 2,400 individuals who contributed to Help for Hale. We have four more floors to renovate, so please, be a part of creating the rest of our next-generation library. It’s easy to make a gift through the KSU Foundation online.

If you’re on campus, come visit! We’ll be closed Saturday-Monday of Labor Day weekend, but regular hours start Tuesday.

The flow of early morning visitors was slow but steady. Within three hours, though, students swarmed the space.
HOME SWEET HALE! Welcome to the Dave and Ellie Everitt Learning Commons.
Students hooked their laptops up to the large collaboration screens in the reservable study rooms; they curled up in soft chairs; and they put the white boards to good use.
Three women sit on a blue padded bench with a gray wall and a window behind them.
Padded benches now fill the nook in front of the windows to the 1955 stacks addition.
Three students hold up K-State's "WC" hand symbol while standing in front of a wall covered in purple balloons.
Sierra Marstall tweeted this great pic and wrote, “Can I get a HALE YEAH?! But seriously go check Hale out. It’s amazing. We are BIG fans…”
We’re calling this area the “living room” for obvious reasons. Very comfortable!
Two of the first students in the door met for breakfast and a study session. (And they posed for a million photos. Thank you, guys!) Photo courtesy of the K-State Alumni Association. 
Loads of seating options fill the space — note the tall table and chairs in the background.
Smiling man with a beard stands over two computer monitors on a table.
Casey Keller of K-State’s Information Technology Assistance Center was doing some final set up as the doors opened.
A quiet nook with an added screen for privacy.
Home Sweet Hale flags welcome students to the sunflower entrance at the southeast corner of the building.
Every one of these desks was full within hours of the doors opening.
We love the accent lighting in this space.
Tara Coleman and Darchelle Martin were just a few of the library employees in purple “Hale Staff” T-shirts who welcomed everyone who came in the building.
The reservable study rooms filled up fast!
The entire Everitt Learning Commons is filled with enormous whiteboard walls. Employees left welcome notes throughout the space, and then students quickly employed them for more academic uses.
It’s so good to see the crowds of students who stop between classes, who settle in for hours of study and who dearly missed their Home Sweet Hale.

The K-State Libraries win gold!

On June 12, the Council for Advancement and Support of Education, CASE, announced the winners of its 2019 Circle of Excellence awards. Kansas State University Libraries Magazine received a gold award.

Only 145 entries out of 2,856 were recognized with a grand gold or gold designation, and we are thrilled to be one of them.

CASE is an international association of educational institutions, primarily colleges and universities. Their Circle of Excellence Awards honor outstanding work in advancement, alumni relations, communications, fundraising and marketing.

The fall 2019 issue recounted the months following the Hale Library fire.

K-State Libraries Magazine gives friends, funders, students and alumni an inside look at library successes, stories and collections — and it has been hugely important as we strive to communicate our post-fire recovery plans and vision for Hale Library’s future.

This week we’re highlighting some of the amazing photos that were in the issue we submitted to the CASE awards. They’re great reminders of how far we’ve come!

If you’d like to make a financial contribution toward the amazing fire-recovery story, visit the KSU Foundation to make a gift to the Help for Hale fund. And if you’d like to see more of K-State Libraries Magazine, visit our website to access issues online or sign up to receive a copy in your mailbox!

More than seventy emergency personnel responded to the three-alarm fire, which burned intermittently for nearly ten hours.
The fire started in the roof just outside these balcony doors in the Academic Learning Center, a study space for athletes. Employees in this space reported smelling smoke right before the alarm sounded.
Water pools across the Great Room floor. Historic Farrell Library was the most severely damaged portion of the building. The original oak library tables in the Great Room were warped beyond repair.
Portions of plasterwork were damaged by water and fell from the walls, like this decorative capital.
The walls in the Great Room absorbed a lot of water, which put the murals in jeopardy. Conservationists used the scaffolding to monitor the plaster, clean the murals and otherwise ensure their safety until they can be fully restored.
Soot-covered furniture and boxes of books await removal from Hale Library’s first floor. Most tables and chairs suffered smoke damage and were unsalvageable.
A construction worker is silhouetted in one of the Great Room windows.

We’ll be back next week with a building update featuring plenty of first and second floor construction progress!

 

Librarians in the wild

Sometimes you have to step away from the computer and get outside. Breathe some fresh air under a blue Kansas sky, gather around a fire pit and watch the kids run. Maybe hold a baby for good measure.

Following the fire, K-State Libraries’ 80-plus regular employees were relocated to 10 different locations across Manhattan. While we’re hugely grateful to everyone who opened their doors to us, we miss seeing our colleagues. The end of the semester seemed like an ideal time to reconnect and enjoy each other’s company.

Thanks to Laurel Littrell, K-State Libraries director of library planning and assessment, we recently had a gorgeous setting in which to do just that.

Library employees and their families eat and chat last Wednesday, May 29.

Littrell and her husband, David Littrell, professor emeritus of music, live northeast of Manhattan on a farm where they have horses and plenty of space for all of our  junior librarians to chase chickens and farm cats.

“We’ve had these gatherings here before, and I had been thinking it was time to do another one,” Littrell said. “We were all talking about how to recognize the one year anniversary of the fire, and we thought it might be great to do something positive related to fire, like an outdoor cookout!”

At left, Associate Dean Mike Haddock puts the fire pit to good use. (For our regular readers: Mike takes most of the photos of Hale Library construction progress that we use on this blog.)

So on Wednesday, May 28, more than 65 people gathered to roast hotdogs and bask in one of the few summer-like days the greater MHK region had seen in weeks.

K-State Libraries web student employee Emma McLaren and friend Molly Smith enjoy their s’mores.

We took the opportunity to ask some of our colleagues what they’re looking forward to this summer.

Thomas Bell visits with Adriana Gonzalez.

Academic services librarian Thomas Bell was looking forward to travel, but he was glad that he didn’t miss the gathering before heading out.

“With all of us scattered all over campus and town I was reminded how much I deeply like and enjoy the people I get to work with at the Libraries,” Bell said. “I had planned to stay for one hour max, as I was leaving the next day and hadn’t packed. It was such a treat catching up with everyone I ended up staying two-and-a-half hours (and wanted to stay longer!). I was up late packing, got three hours sleep, totally worth it.”

Carol Sevin and Darchelle Martin convene by the fire pit. 

Academic services librarian Carol Sevin echoed Bell’s sentiments.

“After a year of hard work on campus (but outside of Hale Library), togethering off-campus with colleagues and families was lovely.”

We have concluded that librarian babies are the cutest (and librarians are known for their objectivity and research abilities, so it must be true).

And what is Sevin looking forward to in the coming months?

“I love teaching how to learn and am always encouraging students to find and use online resources to supplement course materials or to brush up on prerequisites,” she said. “I’m really looking forward to practicing what I preach by leveling up my musicianship and computer programming this summer.”

(Locals: Don’t miss Sevin playing the french horn in the Manhattan Municipal Band performances on Tuesday evenings in City Park this summer!)

From left to right on stairs: Jim and Katy Bach, Sheila Yeh, and Lori Goetsch.

The cookout also gave us a chance to spend time with some of our newer co-workers. Katy Bach, budget-fiscal officer, and Sheila Yeh, associate dean, (both pictured above) joined K-State Libraries this spring. They’re still getting to know everyone, which is challenging with the multiple different office locations.

Two of Littrell’s chickens, Elvis and Priscilla, warily greet librarians.

We hope all of our library friends and blog readers have some equally beautiful opportunities to unplug and relax this summer. Next week we’ll be back to business with a jam-packed Hale Library construction update!

 

 

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.

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.

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!

 

The envelope, please: Dean’s Award to recognize exceptional contributions

The K-State Libraries employee award ceremony on March 27, 2019, will be especially meaningful. We don’t often come together to recognize our peers’ hard work, both pre- and post-fire, since we’re spread out over a dozen different campus locations.

The Dean’s Award is one of three employee awards that will be presented that afternoon. It’s given annually to a non-tenure track professional who has been with the Libraries for at least two years.

Here are this year’s nominees, as described by their nominators:

woman with short white hair and glasses
Alice Anderson, instructional designer

Alice can resolve any and all technical questions about LibGuides, RefWorks and Canvas. Her depth of knowledge is amazing.

Alice’s work on LibGuides makes it easier for us to keep them up-to-date and functioning smoothly. She responds to questions quickly and follows up in person to resolve any related issues. In addition, her initiative to add default LibGuides links to Canvas class sites is awesome. Her efforts make library resources much easier to find for students who may not take the initiative to proactively seek our help.

A year ago, patrons were having a very difficult time with RefWorks citation records from a specific source. She dug into the problem and realized the metadata practices of the creator weren’t interfacing well with RefWorks. As a result, we were able to advise students and instructors in that field to be aware of the problem and follow up accordingly.

Allyssa Bruce, library help student supervisor

Allyssa oversees the hiring, training, scheduling, and evaluations for 12 student workers who collectively cover 77 hours of desk time per week. Her communication skills and her exceptional training program have been instrumental in the success of our services. Last summer Allyssa worked to launch a Peer Research Consultant program to provide K-State students with access to one-on-one research help that funnels into the more advanced assistance offered by our Academic Services Librarians. Her work with the PRCs has transformed the ability and aspirations of the four students who became consultants.

In addition, Allyssa is an outstanding writer, teacher, researcher, and leader. Her professionalism and high expectations for service quality have been instrumental to our ability to provide outstanding help to patrons throughout several migrations of our main service desk and changes in our staffing model.

Woman with dark brown bob and glasses
Kathy Coleman, coordinator of interlibrary services

Kathy has been coordinator since spring 2018. She worked hard to plan the unit’s move to a new office inside of hale library. A few short weeks after the move was complete, the fire changed everything. Kathy worked many late nights and on weekends to ensure that patrons would still be able to obtain the articles and books that were essential to their publications, teaching and grants.

While managing constant changes in the aftermath of the fire, Kathy saw opportunity to improve the user experience. She modified request forms to provide users with control over which items would be delivered to which locations. She and her team worked hard to keep up with demand; at the same time, she introduced enhancements such as a pilot project that delivered physical loans to department offices. Kathy’s expertise, kindness, and strong work ethic are a major part of K-State Libraries’ success.

Woman with shoulder-length blond hair
Renée Gates, IT coordinator

After the fire, Renée worked tirelessly to keep everyone’s computer access up and running, which in turn allowed everyone to continue the critical tasks related to restoring library services. Imaging 125 machines in less than a day to get new computers up and running is a monumental task for any group… The amount of organization that it took to do that job within that timeframe is beyond most things I have ever witnessed.

In addition, two full-time employees left at the same time this summer. Renée pushed forward with a group of student workers and prepared LIST for more change and the onboarding of two new full-time employees. When her new employees arrived, everything was ready for them. In short, Renée is the glue for the Library Information and Support for Technology (LIST) unit and invaluable to the Libraries as a whole.

Woman with long light brown ponytail
Tara Marintzer, senior graphic designer

Tara is incredibly organized and productive. She’s also a reliable, patient coworker. She consistently produces creative, beautiful, effective designs.

Sometimes projects shift and Tara has to scrap something she’s worked hard on and start from scratch, but she never misses a beat. She goes back to the drawing board and comes up with something even more amazing than her initial design.

For example, the summer magazine was ready to go to press in late May. In fact, it would have been sent to the printer the week the fire happened. An entire completed issue had to be put on hold so we could create a new version that covered the fire and its aftermath. Tara was unfazed, and her output for the special issue about the Hale Library fire was a case study in great storytelling through design.

Woman with long auburn hair
Sarah McGreer Hoyt, writer/editor

Sarah is one of the hardest working, productive employees I know. She juggles multiple duties and produces more content than most people probably realize. Additionally, she is an extremely talented writer and storyteller. Sarah’s story about the fire in the last issue of the Libraries Magazine is a prime example of her talent.

After the fire, Sarah took on the responsibility of managing and creating the content for the Hale Library blog. The blog has been key in our ability to communicate in a timely manner, and it was a lot of work, especially in the first few months. She was posting two stories a week in an environment where accuracy was vital, but information could change by the hour. As other work has returned to “normal” Sarah has continued producing the blog while managing her already full workload.

Woman with shoulder-length blond hair and glasses
Kathryn Talbot, preservation coordinator

Kathryn’s leadership and dedication after the fire made the difference between setting us on a path to a successful recovery or not. Her years of unsung work on the Libraries’ Collection Disaster Plan paid incredible dividends. Having the plan and the various relationships in place meant the Libraries were able to move quickly to address the perils Hale’s collections were in as the air conditioning, electricity, telecommunications and other basic building services failed.

More than one party outside of the Libraries commented how well we were coping. Much of the credit should go to Kathryn. While the scale of our disaster was (and still is) daunting, her plan made it less so and gave the impression we had everything figured out.

Kathryn’s follow-through was vital given the level of detail involved in packing out and mapping the removal of over 1.5 million items from Hale Library.

Congratulations to all of the nominees!

And the nominees are …

Every spring, three K-State Libraries awards honor individuals who have made outstanding contributions to our organization. Since so many folks went above and beyond the call of duty following the fire, the employee awards ceremony this spring will be especially meaningful.

We’re excited to honor a few of our outstanding employees.

The recipient of these awards—one each for a faculty member, a professional staff member, and an university support staff member—has their name added to a plaque and is presented with $1,000.

The University Support Staff of the Year award, which has been presented since 1983, is generously sponsored by the Friends of the K-State Libraries. We are proud to introduce our three nominees for the University Support Staff of the Year. All three of them experienced big changes in their jobs after the fire, and all three remain resilient, patient and hard-working.

Jesica Sellers, Utility Worker, Building Services

Jesica Sellers works in building services. When we were located in Hale Library, her work included addressing building maintenance issues, setting up rooms for events and meetings and coordinating mail delivery.

Without Hale, Jesica’s job has changed a lot, and tasks like mail delivery have become more complicated. For example, she works with half a dozen students and their shifting schedules to make sure the Libraries’ staff receives mail in ten different buildings spread across the K-State campus.

Her nominator said, “Jes listens to others’ ideas and problems and tries to find solutions that work for everyone. When it came to figuring out the new mail delivery schedule, she was patient and made sure we understood the limitations the Libraries were facing due to the fire, but she also listened to what we needed. Jes consistently performs her job efficiently and well.”  

Raymond Deiser, Library Associate, Metadata, Preservation and Digital Initiatives

The process of keeping track of millions of items in a library collection falls to the folks who manage the metadata, including copy catalogers like Raymond Deiser. Raymond has several cataloging specializations at K-State Libraries, including government documents and maps. He also helps with music cataloging.

Like all of the other copy catalogers post-fire, Raymond spends at least two days each week at the K-State Libraries Annex, which is located near the Manhattan Regional Airport. As our books and other items that were in the fire are cleaned, as many as possible are being ingested into the Annex so they can be checked out again. First, though, the catalogers have to prepare each item’s catalog record, which is a big job when you’re processing thousands of items.

Raymond is also the unit’s in-house expert on Alma, the cloud-based library services platform we use to manage our collection and the way our users find what they need through our website. 

“Raymond’s knowledge is indispensable for all of us,” his nominator said. “He is also very polite, gracious, and kind. Since he joined the library, I’ve been impressed by his work every day.” 

Marcia Eaton, Library Assistant III, Interlibrary Loan Services

Marcia Eaton works in interlibrary loan services (ILS), and they have been even more in-demand than usual following the fire. When K-State Libraries doesn’t own the materials our community members need, ILS borrows the materials for them from other libraries around the country.

Since most of our physical collection is boxed up and in storage, it’s unsurprising that the number of borrowing requests has skyrocketed. Marcia’s hard work, diligence, and positive attitude greatly contributed to Interlibrary Services being able to handle the increased demand for loans and articles after the fire.

Marcia began the year as the sole lender in Interlibrary Services. After the fire she switched to working full-time in borrowing.

Her nominator said, “Marcia jumped in with both feet and a great attitude, quickly learning the basics and then taking on other duties. She is an extremely dedicated worker who always strives to provide excellent service to other libraries and to K-State patrons. Marcia leaves no stone unturned in attempting to locate requested materials.”

Congratulations, Jes, Raymond and Marcia!

We look forward to introducing the other award nominees and announcing the winners in the coming weeks.

Our final list of study locations for finals week (finally)

Finals week is next week! Since Hale Library is temporarily out of commission, we wanted to highlight some study locations that might make things less stressful during this very stressful time of year.

The full list of hours, dates and locations can be found at the Libraries website, but to give you an inside look, my coworkers and I did a quick tour of a few lesser-known study spaces. The following buildings were not highlighted in our beginning-of-semester post about study spots, which featured a massive picture of my head that still haunts me.

All of these spaces are reserved for quiet study, which is the hardest to come by on campus during finals week.

The Alumni Center was our first stop.

My coworker Rebekah, a senior in public relations and K-State Libraries student employee, shows off the space in the Alumni Center Ballroom on the first floor. 

In addition to setting up their massive space with tables and chairs, they have several small meeting rooms (just ask at the front desk about availability). The Alumni Center will also serve free coffee 8-10 a.m. on Monday and Tuesday (while supplies last).

The KSU Foundation at 1800 Kimball Avenue is offering up their enormous conference room on the main floor. Two perks: It’s right next door to Bluestem Grille, and it’s on the aTa Bus line (Office Park/Grain Campus stop).

Avery, senior in political science and philosophy and KSU Foundation student employee, poses in their enormous conference room. This is one of the few spaces on our list of study spots that has great natural light.

Students looking for space that’s open all night should head to the K-State Student Union. In addition to the usual Union study spots, they’ll have their ballroom set up for studiers; that area will stay open until midnight.

Emma, sophomore in marketing and K-State Libraries student employee, being a good sport for this blog post.

Holtz Hall will be open from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. Sundays through Thursdays, and they offer two dozen study rooms. The Berney Family Welcome Center has twenty-three study rooms that would be great for small groups of two to four; they’re free from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday (check at the welcome desk for availability).

“If I really needed total silence, I would hustle to grab one of the small rooms in Holtz Hall or the Berney Family Welcome Center,” Rebekah said. “The other spaces will accommodate a ton of people, so they’ll have more ambient noise. I think the ballrooms would work perfectly well, though, especially if I had my headphones on.”

Nine of the twenty-three small meeting rooms in the Berney Family Welcome Center.

“We highlighted spaces that aren’t usually available for studying because people won’t be as aware of them,” Emma said. “Two of my go-to spots that aren’t on this list are the Business Building (because I spend so much time there anyway) and the tucked-away seating areas in the Rec Center. If you’re someone who really needs to get a stress-relieving workout in, that would be a great spot.”

Again, we have a guide online that outlines dates, hours, and details about these study spaces and many, many more (21 in all)! We hope these will help lessen student stress, even though finals week will remind us all again how much we miss Hale Library.

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.

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.