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.
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.”
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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, 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.”
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 K-State Libraries employee award ceremony on March 27, 2019, will be especially meaningful. We don’t often come together to recognize our peers’ hard work, both pre- and post-fire, since we’re spread out over a dozen different campus locations.
The Dean’s Award is one of three employee awards that will be presented that afternoon. It’s given annually to a non-tenure track professional who has been with the Libraries for at least two years.
Here are this year’s nominees, as described by their nominators:
Alice can resolve any and all technical questions about LibGuides, RefWorks and Canvas. Her depth of knowledge is amazing.
Alice’s work on LibGuides makes it easier for us to keep them up-to-date and functioning smoothly. She responds to questions quickly and follows up in person to resolve any related issues. In addition, her initiative to add default LibGuides links to Canvas class sites is awesome. Her efforts make library resources much easier to find for students who may not take the initiative to proactively seek our help.
A year ago, patrons were having a very difficult time with RefWorks citation records from a specific source. She dug into the problem and realized the metadata practices of the creator weren’t interfacing well with RefWorks. As a result, we were able to advise students and instructors in that field to be aware of the problem and follow up accordingly.
Allyssa oversees the hiring, training, scheduling, and evaluations for 12 student workers who collectively cover 77 hours of desk time per week. Her communication skills and her exceptional training program have been instrumental in the success of our services. Last summer Allyssa worked to launch a Peer Research Consultant program to provide K-State students with access to one-on-one research help that funnels into the more advanced assistance offered by our Academic Services Librarians. Her work with the PRCs has transformed the ability and aspirations of the four students who became consultants.
In addition, Allyssa is an outstanding writer, teacher, researcher, and leader. Her professionalism and high expectations for service quality have been instrumental to our ability to provide outstanding help to patrons throughout several migrations of our main service desk and changes in our staffing model.
Kathy has been coordinator since spring 2018. She worked hard to plan the unit’s move to a new office inside of hale library. A few short weeks after the move was complete, the fire changed everything. Kathy worked many late nights and on weekends to ensure that patrons would still be able to obtain the articles and books that were essential to their publications, teaching and grants.
While managing constant changes in the aftermath of the fire, Kathy saw opportunity to improve the user experience. She modified request forms to provide users with control over which items would be delivered to which locations. She and her team worked hard to keep up with demand; at the same time, she introduced enhancements such as a pilot project that delivered physical loans to department offices. Kathy’s expertise, kindness, and strong work ethic are a major part of K-State Libraries’ success.
After the fire, Renée worked tirelessly to keep everyone’s computer access up and running, which in turn allowed everyone to continue the critical tasks related to restoring library services. Imaging 125 machines in less than a day to get new computers up and running is a monumental task for any group… The amount of organization that it took to do that job within that timeframe is beyond most things I have ever witnessed.
In addition, two full-time employees left at the same time this summer. Renée pushed forward with a group of student workers and prepared LIST for more change and the onboarding of two new full-time employees. When her new employees arrived, everything was ready for them. In short, Renée is the glue for the Library Information and Support for Technology (LIST) unit and invaluable to the Libraries as a whole.
Tara is incredibly organized and productive. She’s also a reliable, patient coworker. She consistently produces creative, beautiful, effective designs.
Sometimes projects shift and Tara has to scrap something she’s worked hard on and start from scratch, but she never misses a beat. She goes back to the drawing board and comes up with something even more amazing than her initial design.
For example, the summer magazine was ready to go to press in late May. In fact, it would have been sent to the printer the week the fire happened. An entire completed issue had to be put on hold so we could create a new version that covered the fire and its aftermath. Tara was unfazed, and her output for the special issue about the Hale Library fire was a case study in great storytelling through design.
Sarah is one of the hardest working, productive employees I know. She juggles multiple duties and produces more content than most people probably realize. Additionally, she is an extremely talented writer and storyteller. Sarah’s story about the fire in the last issue of the Libraries Magazine is a prime example of her talent.
After the fire, Sarah took on the responsibility of managing and creating the content for the Hale Library blog. The blog has been key in our ability to communicate in a timely manner, and it was a lot of work, especially in the first few months. She was posting two stories a week in an environment where accuracy was vital, but information could change by the hour. As other work has returned to “normal” Sarah has continued producing the blog while managing her already full workload.
Kathryn’s leadership and dedication after the fire made the difference between setting us on a path to a successful recovery or not. Her years of unsung work on the Libraries’ Collection Disaster Plan paid incredible dividends. Having the plan and the various relationships in place meant the Libraries were able to move quickly to address the perils Hale’s collections were in as the air conditioning, electricity, telecommunications and other basic building services failed.
More than one party outside of the Libraries commented how well we were coping. Much of the credit should go to Kathryn. While the scale of our disaster was (and still is) daunting, her plan made it less so and gave the impression we had everything figured out.
Kathryn’s follow-through was vital given the level of detail involved in packing out and mapping the removal of over 1.5 million items from Hale Library.
Every spring, three K-State Libraries awards honor individuals who have made outstanding contributions to our organization. Since so many folks went above and beyond the call of duty following the fire, the employee awards ceremony this spring will be especially meaningful.
The recipient of these awards—one each for a faculty member, a professional staff member, and an university support staff member—has their name added to a plaque and is presented with $1,000.
The University Support Staff of the Year award, which has been presented since 1983, is generously sponsored by the Friends of the K-State Libraries. We are proud to introduce our three nominees for the University Support Staff of the Year. All three of them experienced big changes in their jobs after the fire, and all three remain resilient, patient and hard-working.
Jesica Sellers works in building services. When we were located in Hale Library, her work included addressing building maintenance issues, setting up rooms for events and meetings and coordinating mail delivery.
Without Hale, Jesica’s job has changed a lot, and tasks like mail delivery have become more complicated. For example, she works with half a dozen students and their shifting schedules to make sure the Libraries’ staff receives mail in ten different buildings spread across the K-State campus.
Her nominator said, “Jes listens to others’ ideas and problems and tries to find solutions that work for everyone. When it came to figuring out the new mail delivery schedule, she was patient and made sure we understood the limitations the Libraries were facing due to the fire, but she also listened to what we needed. Jes consistently performs her job efficiently and well.”
The process of keeping track of millions of items in a library collection falls to the folks who manage the metadata, including copy catalogers like Raymond Deiser. Raymond has several cataloging specializations at K-State Libraries, including government documents and maps. He also helps with music cataloging.
Like all of the other copy catalogers post-fire, Raymond spends at least two days each week at the K-State Libraries Annex, which is located near the Manhattan Regional Airport. As our books and other items that were in the fire are cleaned, as many as possible are being ingested into the Annex so they can be checked out again. First, though, the catalogers have to prepare each item’s catalog record, which is a big job when you’re processing thousands of items.
Raymond is also the unit’s in-house expert on Alma, the cloud-based library services platform we use to manage our collection and the way our users find what they need through our website.
“Raymond’s knowledge is indispensable for all of us,” his nominator said. “He is also very polite, gracious, and kind. Since he joined the library, I’ve been impressed by his work every day.”
Marcia Eaton works in interlibrary loan services (ILS), and they have been even more in-demand than usual following the fire. When K-State Libraries doesn’t own the materials our community members need, ILS borrows the materials for them from other libraries around the country.
Since most of our physical collection is boxed up and in storage, it’s unsurprising that the number of borrowing requests has skyrocketed. Marcia’s hard work, diligence, and positive attitude greatly contributed to Interlibrary Services being able to handle the increased demand for loans and articles after the fire.
Marcia began the year as the sole lender in Interlibrary Services. After the fire she switched to working full-time in borrowing.
Her nominator said, “Marcia jumped in with both feet and a great attitude, quickly learning the basics and then taking on other duties. She is an extremely dedicated worker who always strives to provide excellent service to other libraries and to K-State patrons. Marcia leaves no stone unturned in attempting to locate requested materials.”
Congratulations, Jes, Raymond and Marcia!
We look forward to introducing the other award nominees and announcing the winners in the coming weeks.
Finals week is next week! Since Hale Library is temporarily out of commission, we wanted to highlight some study locations that might make things less stressful during this very stressful time of year.
The full list of hours, dates and locations can be found at the Libraries website, but to give you an inside look, my coworkers and I did a quick tour of a few lesser-known study spaces. The following buildings were not highlighted in our beginning-of-semester post about study spots, which featured a massive picture of my head that still haunts me.
All of these spaces are reserved for quiet study, which is the hardest to come by on campus during finals week.
The Alumni Center was our first stop.
In addition to setting up their massive space with tables and chairs, they have several small meeting rooms (just ask at the front desk about availability). The Alumni Center will also serve free coffee 8-10 a.m. on Monday and Tuesday (while supplies last).
The KSU Foundation at 1800 Kimball Avenue is offering up their enormous conference room on the main floor. Two perks: It’s right next door to Bluestem Grille, and it’s on the aTa Bus line (Office Park/Grain Campus stop).
Students looking for space that’s open all night should head to the K-State Student Union. In addition to the usual Union study spots, they’ll have their ballroom set up for studiers; that area will stay open until midnight.
Holtz Hall will be open from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. Sundays through Thursdays, and they offer two dozen study rooms. The Berney Family Welcome Center has twenty-three study rooms that would be great for small groups of two to four; they’re free from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday (check at the welcome desk for availability).
“If I really needed total silence, I would hustle to grab one of the small rooms in Holtz Hall or the Berney Family Welcome Center,” Rebekah said. “The other spaces will accommodate a ton of people, so they’ll have more ambient noise. I think the ballrooms would work perfectly well, though, especially if I had my headphones on.”
“We highlighted spaces that aren’t usually available for studying because people won’t be as aware of them,” Emma said. “Two of my go-to spots that aren’t on this list are the Business Building (because I spend so much time there anyway) and the tucked-away seating areas in the Rec Center. If you’re someone who really needs to get a stress-relieving workout in, that would be a great spot.”
Again, we have a guide online that outlines dates, hours, and details about these study spaces and many, many more (21 in all)! We hope these will help lessen student stress, even though finals week will remind us all again how much we miss Hale Library.
This month we took some time out for expressions of gratitude. One of the highlights? A very special visit to the Manhattan Fire Department Headquarters.
On November 16, a group of K-State Libraries employees met at Station 1 on the corner of Denison and Kimball. We were greeted by Battalion Chief Jason Hudson and his team. Hudson, who was a K-State freshman during Hale Library’s construction, was in charge of the scene on May 22.
Hudson started off echoing what many of us thought on the day the MFD responded to the fire: “We’re there all the time. How could it be that bad?”
“So I get out of my vehicle and I talked to some folks that are outside already, and they’re like, ‘Yeah, there’s some smoke on the fourth floor.’ I was thinking cooking smoke, or something like that.
“I was walking … between Willard and Hale on the north side of the building … and I could smell it. You can’t mistake that smell. I look up and I see just a little wisp come off the roof, and then … I had a driver come up Mid Campus Drive from the south and he said ‘Hey, there’s smoke on this side of the building.’
“And I said, ‘Oh. We have a big fire.’ I actually thought the roof was going to come off the building. In fact, I moved trucks back thinking that the roof was going to burn off. That was my first impression of it.
“I actually ended up going inside with my crews and I couldn’t believe… It was almost like, ‘This building’s taken a kill shot.’ I knew it immediately when there was zero visibility… we were fortunate that everybody made it out of there when they did, because it could have been bad. Had anyone stayed in that building thinking it was nothing they would have been overcome by smoke ….
Hudson also talked about challenges the building presented.
“[T]ypically we don’t like to be on top of fire. We’d rather be under it, pull the ceiling down and then putting water on. [In Hale Library] you can’t! There’s concrete [between the floors]. We spent a lot of time trying to pull ceiling, and we couldn’t do it, so we had to get on top of it and go down.
“[The sprinkler system] saved the building. It did a lot of water damage, but there wouldn’t be a roof on that building … It could have been like Nichols Hall, back in the ’60s when it burned and all that was left was a shell. I mean, it could have done something similar to that.”
We also spoke with Captain Dan Newton, who is currently with Station 4 by the Manhattan Regional Airport. He started out his career at Station 2, which covers Hale Library. So like Chief Hudson, when Captain Newton heard that there was smoke in the building at Hale, he said his first thought was, “Just another burnt bagel.”
Initially his crew didn’t go … but when they started getting radio traffic that smoke was coming from the eaves, they came to the scene. After an assignment clearing the Great Room, they went to the roof.
“[W]e did multiple revolutions on the roof, which was the best place to be. We spent several revolutions cutting holes, using special nozzles that you can stick in a hole and get water to confined spaces. It was a very tough operation. It’s always a great team-building experience when you have something big like that.
“I can just remember my whole entire crew cramping up … and getting to that point where knowing okay, we’ve pushed to our limit here … and you know so we did that multiple times, not just once ….
“It was a really, really hot day. And for me it was good to see my guys kind of step up. I had a very new firefighter getting to see him push through limits he didn’t know he had, and a very young driver that hadn’t been a decision-maker on scene but came up with the idea to use the special nozzle to put out the fire. So getting to see these guys grow and learn right there right in the middle of the scene isn’t something you always get to do.”
We don’t always get to hear about the fire from those who experienced it first-hand, so we’d like to extend a huge thank you to Chief Hudson and Captain Newton. Thanks, too, go out to Captain Micah Hydeman and Captain Lou Kaylor, as well as Scott Helberg, Nick Clark, A.J. Mueller, Lawilson Horne and the rest of the crew.
Thanksgiving, November 22, marks six months since the Hale Library fire, so it’s a fitting time to give thanks for the MFD and all of the other emergency personnel who were there that day, including the crews from Fort Riley, Blue Township, Riley County EMS and more.
We’re deeply grateful for these and for all first responders this holiday season, and we’re wishing them health and safety today and always!
Photos of the May 22 Hale Library fire courtesy K-State University Photo Services.
On November 2, 2018, more than 200 revelers gathered in the Bill Snyder Family Stadium for “A Night of Illumination.” The gala attendees—Friends of the K-State Libraries, long-time supporters and event sponsors, students and librarians—all held one wish in common: To see a new, renovated Hale Library functioning at the heart of the K-State campus.
Attendees watched video highlights of both the post-fire devastation and the developing vision for the new, renovated Hale Library. In her remarks, Dean Lori Goetsch said, “We have a blank slate … We get to decide what kind of a university library we will create for Kansas State University.”
Tiffany Bowers, Chair of the K-State Libraries Student Ambassadors; Andrew Kohls, Friends member; Sara Kearns, librarian and student ambassadors adviser; and Taylee Helms, student ambassador. Bowers delivered an impassioned testimonial about the out-sized role Hale Library played during her K-State career.
Thank you to everyone who planned, sponsored and attended “A Night of Illumination.” After a dark season in our history, it felt good to celebrate with light, music and our K-State friends.
Now, as we end the recovery phrase, we look forward to sharing our vision for Hale Library.
“We were really fortunate that our research materials escaped serious damage,” Cliff Hight, university archivist, said. “The collection has been moved offsite for cleaning and storage until we’re ready to move back into Hale Library.”
But in early October, the department opened a reading room in 116 Bluemont Hall. The space features a small fraction of their collection, including a limited amount of frequently used archival materials plus research tables, a scanner and a microfilm reader.
“We realized within a week or so after the fire that in order to continue providing at least one aspect of our services we would need to have access to some of the collection,” Hight said. “We determined that it made the most sense to offer core materials related to university history. After that, we were in a holding pattern until they could move those items out of Hale Library and clean them so they were free of soot and smoke odors.”
Items available for public use include subject clipping files, photo collection files, yearbooks, catalogs, recent budget books, campus directories, Manhattan directories and commencement programs.
“We’re looking forward to seeing students, faculty and the community engage with our collections again, even if it is on a much smaller scale,” Hight said.
Visitors can also request to view the St. John’s Bible. If you can’t make it to the reading room but would like to bring the St. John’s Bible to your community, our outreach program remains active. The Libraries’ trained docents regularly bring this work of art to organizations throughout the Kansas region.
Additionally, a selection of digitized materials from the department’s primary collecting areas is available online.
So what kinds of things can you find in the reading room? And who might need them?
Let’s say you are a history or journalism student researching the arc of the civil rights movement on the K-State campus. The reading room staff can pull subject clipping files related to your topic. You’d find articles about events, people and conflicts as reported in regional, local and campus publications dating back over many decades. They can also pull files of related photographs, many of which have never been published or digitized.
Of course, professional journalists, professors from K-State and further afield and members of the community can also access these resources.
How can I contact the reading room?
If you have questions about the holdings, policies or more, call 785-532-7456, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
What types of materials are boxed up and stored offsite?
Well, for starters, the Morse Department is home to more than 38,000 cookbooks and manuscripts that date back as far as 1487.
It might seem arbitrary for a library to have so much focusing on a single subject.
“Libraries that have a special collections department often narrow their focus and collect most heavily in a few specific subject areas,” Lori Goetsch, Dean of Libraries, said. “That means they can develop a collection with depth and breadth to truly serve researchers in that field. At K-State, we’ve developed a great reputation for our cookery collection. People come from all over the country to access everything from 19th century hand-written manuscripts of recipes to regional cookbooks covering different American cuisine.”
Two other collection highlights include topics related to Kansas history and the consumer movement.
The Consumer Movement Archives (CMA) was established in 1987 through the initiative of Richard L.D. Morse, a prominent leader in the consumer movement and a Kansas State University professor. Broadly defined, the consumer movement consists of individuals and organizations that advocate for the rights and welfare of consumers, especially when those rights are violated by corporations and governments.
This is just a small sampling of the materials included in the department. We look forward to bringing them back to Hale Library once they have a new, improved space.
Where do the materials come from?
The university’s librarians regularly buy and receive donated materials to grow the collection. Funds come from a range of sources, including private gifts and grants from organizations such as the National Endowment for the Humanities.
The last several months have been some of the darkest times in K-State Libraries’ history. Now, more than 100 days since the Hale Library fire, we’re at a turning point. On Friday, November 2, 2018, the Friends of the K-State Libraries will mark this moment by presenting A Night of Illumination.
This marks the twenty-eighth annual Friends event. Except for a few celebrations that were held off-site during Hale Library’s construction in the ’90s, they’ve always been held in Hale Library.
This year, we’ll gather in beautiful West Stadium Center, Bill Snyder Family Stadium. We hope some of our blog readers can join us to make a toast to resilience, new possibilities and boundless aspiration.
Guests will enjoy cocktails and hors d’oeuvres followed by dinner, dessert and a performance by Dr. Wayne Goins & the Rhythm & Blues Machine. We’ll also be able to share a glimpse of the vision for the new Hale Library from PGAV architects.
Dress is cocktail suggested but not required. Tickets are $100 and can be purchased online or via phone at 785-532-7417 by Friday, October 19.
Proceeds leveraged by the event will go toward Help for Hale, a fund devoted to making Hale Library the light on campus that it has been for two decades.
Questions? Contact Darchelle Martin at 785-532-7442 or email@example.com.
As we walk across campus, we’re often stopped by fellow K-Staters and asked, “So how are you all doing?” Truly, we’ve appreciated the expressions of concern for the 100+ displaced Hale Library folks.
On that note, we thought we’d catch up with four of our co-workers who share a combined 80 years of experience with K-State Libraries.
After all of the computers and printers were lost in the fire, Renee Gates was responsible for getting more than 90 employees set up with new technology. She and her team also travel between a dozen different buildings on campus to make sure everything continues to work smoothly.
Renee, two of the four staff members on your team left Manhattan to pursue new job opportunities this summer. How are you doing?
“Everybody has been really nice and patient with us. They understand we are short-staffed.
In addition to getting everyone set up on new technology, we’re doing a lot of inventory of the tech that was in an area of Hale Library that was declared clean or cleanable. Everything has to be plugged in and tested to make sure it works. Some things don’t because of internal issues like the effects of condensation.
After the fire, I think in many ways our department had it a lot easier than other people. We had the most to do initially, but we were connected, we knew what was going on, and we had purpose. I think there was a lot more anxiety for people who weren’t as busy as we were. So that busyness helped get us through.
I love that we have space in Seaton Hall that is just our LIST staff and we can easily talk to each other without disturbing anyone else. I miss everybody from the library, though.”
Dan, what do you remember about the day of the fire?
“I was in my office, and my 15-year-old son was with me because he was out early that day and doing homework on a computer. We had this history in Hale Library that the fire alarms were sensitive to dust. One summer it seemed like a fire alarm went off every week. So the alarm goes off and it’s like, ‘Eh, okay, well… it’s the end of the day.’ So I scooped up my stuff. And I remember thinking so clearly, ‘Do I need my laptop tonight? Nah, I’ll get it in the morning,’ and I left it and we went home.
An hour later, I’m hearing from people, ‘Did you see the fire?’ And I was like, ‘There was an actual fire?!’ I went back, and people were hanging around outside. Somebody had ordered pizza, and we watched sheets of water cascade down the side of the building and into Mid-Campus Drive.”
What’s different about your job since you aren’t working out of Hale Library?
“A couple of librarians and I have gotten office spaces within our respective disciplines, so I am in in Nichols Hall with the Theater Department. I’ve tried to become more entrenched with their faculty and students, and that’s been great. I see them every day, and it’s very easy for them to find me and for me to be a resource for them because I’m physically there right now.
The thing I miss most are the collections, though. For example, theater is very practice-based. A lot of it is producing creative works based off of scripts and physical materials. While there are some fantastic online resources, it’s left a hole for my students when they go looking for scripts. You really want something physical in your hands for that, even when you’re trying to select scenes.”
How has your job changed?
“Part of our work is to make sure that when a K-Stater is off-campus that they can access all of the databases and online resources that the Libraries pay for by simply signing in with their K-State username and password.
The proxy system that makes that happen seamlessly was lost when the servers had to be taken offline after the fire. Fortunately, the Libraries’ IT department had been preparing to move the system to the cloud, so they were able to have up a new version within just a few days. Once it was rebuilt, our team spent the summer making sure that the new proxy system was working for hundreds of online resources. These materials are especially important now since the physical collection isn’t available. We’ve been very, very busy.”
This isn’t your first time working out of the Unger Complex, is it?
“Three of us were located in this exact same office when Hale Library was being built in the ’90s. Everyone here has been really friendly and helpful, and whatever we need they try to make it happen. It’s just kind of weird déjà vu!”
What do you remember from the day of the fire?
“The fire alarm went off at 3:58, and we just thought it was a normal fire alarm, so I picked up my purse and went to my exercise class. When we got out, we could smell smoke and hear the sirens. People were going ‘Yeah, the library is on fire.’ Then I got home and had all these messages on my answering machine, asking if I was okay.
After the fire, I emailed each patron that had anything checked out. What was great was that a lot of people emailed back, and they were so supportive. That was the really nice thing: I had a lot of personal contact with patrons on email.”
How is life different now?
“I miss seeing all of the people that I worked with on a daily basis. I mean, I still go over to the union and see people but it’s different. I miss walking around in the stacks, seeing the actual books and seeing the students. I am excited about seeing the new Hale Library, though! I’m close to retiring, so this gives me a new reason to work long enough to see what the new Hale is going to look like.”
Like Carolyn, we are all excited to see what the future of Hale Library holds. We’re reminded, too, that libraries aren’t just about buildings—they’re about the people who work there, the people who use them and the people who believe in their value.
We know our blog readers fall into one or all of those categories. Thank you!
Interviews were conducted and transcribed by communication student employee Rebekah Branch. Transcriptions were edited for clarity and brevity.
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