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More first floor construction progress

We’re about six weeks out from the planned completion of the Dave & Ellie Everitt Learning Commons on Hale Library’s first floor! The space is buzzing with activity as drywall is finished, the new paint goes on and floors are evened out in preparation for carpet installation.

Two crew members spread concrete into recessed areas on the floor.
Drywall workers on stilts mud a wall on the north side of Hale Library’s first floor.
A worker muds drywall on the ceiling under a bright construction spotlight. While the wiring is in place, permanent light fixtures haven’t been installed yet.
Workers paint the ceiling. The Everitt Learning Commons features a new color palette of light and dark gray with accent walls in brighter colors — purple among them, of course!
A worker drills into a door at the southeast entrance of the building. This will be the main entrance into Hale Library’s Everitt Learning Commons.

Meanwhile, one level up on second floor, most of the demolition is complete and the space largely has been cleared out. Second floor is slated to open in spring 2020!

Dean Lori Goetsch looks into the second floor at the back wall where the Library Help desk was located. 
Darchelle Martin, public information officer, looks into the former Information Technology Assistance Center on the second floor. This space will be the upper floor of the Innovation Lab.

If you’d like to help make the other floors of Hale Library as amazing as the first floor is going to be, contribute to Help for Hale through the KSU Foundation website! Time is of the essence. Insurance will cover replacement costs—but not the improvements that make an ordinary library experience extraordinary.

Dr. Sheila Yeh & Hale’s reimagined tech offerings

When Hale Library reopens, the renovated space will include increased access to technology, plus some exciting new features. K-State students and faculty members will find the tools they need, including

  • An Innovation Lab where users master state-of-the-art software and hardware that are not readily available elsewhere on campus.
  • Improved infrastructure, including stronger wi-fi and more electrical outlets.
  • Technology-equipped, reservable group study rooms.

Given the complexity of those additions and the role information technology plays in the day-to-day life of all academic libraries, we are pleased to have Sheila Yeh, associate dean for collections, discovery and information technology services, on our team. She joined K-State Libraries in March 2019. Most recently, she worked at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, where she was assistant dean of library and information technology.

I sat down with Dr. Yeh to hear her thoughts about the Hale Library renovation and her time on the K-State campus so far.

Dr. Sheila Yeh received her doctorate in computer science and information systems from the University of Colorado at Denver, a master’s in industrial and human factors engineering from Wright State University and a master’s in library and information science from University of Maryland College Park.

What has it been like for you to arrive in the wake of the Hale Library fire?
While the seriousness of the fire in the Hale Library can’t be understated, the silver lining is that the library has a unique opportunity to reinvent itself. It is an honor to be part of the team that guides the library’s reimagining.

In your new role, you oversee so many areas in the library, including  preservation and information technology services departments. What excites you about your job?
Information technology has been the catalyst for much of the transformation we find in today’s academic libraries.

Digital and information technology are key resources that must integrate with other library functions to deliver effective services. They are more than utilities and tools; they are enablers.

The Liquid Galaxy platform is a cluster of computers running Google Earth, Street View, and other panoramic applications to create immersive experiences. Photo courtesy https://liquidgalaxy.endpoint.com

What do you mean by enablers?
Consider the technologies that will be available in the Innovation Lab, such as virtual reality goggles or the Liquid Galaxy platform.

I’m very excited about these tools; however, I’m more excited about the prospect that the Innovation Lab, as a space combined with its technologies and programs, will offer new opportunities for interdisciplinary studies, serendipitous discoveries, and knowledge creation.Those tools will enable great things. You never know, our Innovation Lab may incubate something that combats climate change.

What previous career experiences are you drawing from when it comes to thinking about the new Hale Library?
At the University of Hawaii at Manoa, I led the reimagining of group study rooms in the library, everything from new furniture to charging stations, and the completed spaces were very popular.

Prior to the University of Hawaii at Manoa, I worked at the University of Denver Libraries, where I oversaw the area that supported technologies in the library’s innovative group study rooms, event rooms, classrooms, and seminar rooms. I helped establish the Library’s Makerspace, its staffing, and programming support.

Yeh and Associate Dean Mike Haddock look on as construction workers weld iron beams in place inside Hale Library’s new rooftop mechanical room. March 25, 2019. 

Keeping current on the landscape of innovation hubs at higher education institutions and academic libraries in the United States is part of my routine. Aside from technology itself, I also keep up-to-date how institutions are utilizing their space and technology resources to inspire the next generation inventors.

How do you see faculty and students using the new features in Hale Library?
Part of my role is to think about the areas within the Library from a 360-degree, big-picture perspective. I think about the Library as an organic whole, providing a multitude of services for the community. I think about how we effectively and efficiently deliver services by capitalizing on our existing resources. I think about service delivery, and about the services needed to fulfill the Library’s mission at the highest level. I think about how we engage in dialog with our community to continuously evolve and foster success.

The Innovation Lab on Hale’s first and second floors will be the creative nexus of the new library.

For example, I don’t have to know how to use every tool in the Innovation Lab, because I trust my technologists for that. But I do think about how we can create connections so everyone at K-State—students from all majors as well as faculty—finds opportunities for growth and discovery in the new Hale Library.

I want to think about how we can connect and utilize faculty who already have significant connections in the community. How can we bring those parties to Hale Library to help students succeed and prepare them for life after they graduate?

Also, it is imperative to connect with campus constituents such as the Office of Research Development to ensure that the library can be a supportive partner for their initiatives, such as campus-wide data management support.

Yeh takes a ceremonial swing at the wall inside Hale Library’s southeast entrance. When Hale reopens at the beginning of fall semester 2019, this area will be the entrance to the first floor Dave & Ellie Everitt Learning Commons. March 25, 2019.

What feature of the new building are you most excited about?
I am excited that we will have a state-of-the art digitization lab for Special Collections that will be unique to K-State, our community, and the Libraries. It is often not possible nor economical to transport those collections to and from an out-sourced digitization facility. The new digitization equipment will make those collections available to a global audience. This is an example of a sustainable service model with a far-reaching impact.

If you weren’t working in the library world, what do you think you would be doing? 
I have long dreamt about a boutique Chinese dumpling restaurant. Who knows, maybe one day you will find me in the kitchen attending to dough and savory fillings to make the delicious dumplings I grew up with.

Dean Lori Goetsch, Haddock and Yeh confer on Hale Library’s rooftop. April 3, 2019.

 

What Hale Library means to K-State students

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

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

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

You can provide #HelpforHale online today.

***

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hale Library featured on “Rescue Heroes”

In the wake of Hale’s fire, our community has been incredibly supportive. 

We didn’t expect national exposure like this, though: Hale Library was recently profiled on a new television program. The series, which is called “Rescue Heroes: Global Response Team” (not to be confused with the Canadian children’s show “Rescue Heroes,” which features animated dogs), premiered last month. The second episode gives an overview of the fire, including interviews from rescue and recovery personnel plus students and faculty. 

Watch the full show on YouTube! (The portion featuring K-State starts at 11:07). 

The episode features several people who are near and dear to the Libraries talking about the fire, the process of rescuing the books, restoring the building, and Hale Library’s future. Here are just a few of them.

Before the fire, Kathryn Talbot managed digital preservation and the preservation lab that cared for the books. She also supervised all staff that physically moved library materials: They shifted the collections from one part of the library to another, reshelved books returned by patrons and more. 

After the fire, Talbot became one of Hale Library’s key players in working with Belfor, the property restoration company, to make sure our collections made it out of the building and into safe storage locations.

Katheryn Talbon, Preservation Coordinator at KSU sits in the gutted remnants of one of Hale Library's floors.
Katheryn Talbot, preservation coordinator

“Books are a part of us,” Talbot said. “They have all our ideas, our thoughts, our hopes, our futures embedded in those pages. Missing that would be missing a huge part of ourselves.”

Tiffany Bowers, a student at K-State, sits on a bench outside of Hale during an interview.
Tiffany Bowers, a senior at K-State, was interviewed for the video

Tiffany Bowers, a senior in anthropology, was also featured in the video. Bowers is planning on going to graduate school for library sciences and is the current president of the K-State Libraries Student Ambassadors.

Her interview included her hopes for a renovated Hale Library: “This is an amazing opportunity to really rethink how… the library could serve students even better.” 

Battalion Chief Jason Hudson, who was featured in a previous post, shared experience on the scene of the fire that day. “It was pulling at my heart knowing how bad this was,” he said.

Hudson was an undergraduate student at K-State when Hale was being built in the late ’90s, so witnessing its near destruction held special significance for him. 

Rodney Todd, a restoration specialist with Belfor stands in front of the library
Rodney Todd, a restoration specialist with Belfor, stands in front of Hale Library

Rodney Todd, a restoration specialist with Belfor, shared facts about the extent of the damage: “There was not one square inch of the library that didn’t have some sort of either soot or water damage from top to bottom.”

Todd also talked about the murals in the Great Room and the process of trying to repair them after water and soot damage. “They’ve got the Great Room, which has murals that we’re saving. That’s one thing that’s really important to the university.”

The books that were damaged in the fire are being taken care of by Kay Rieder, another restoration specialist with Belfor. The approximately 1.5 million books are being stored in several locations throughout the state in storage facilities that have humidity and temperature control.

Key Rieder, Belfor Restoration Specialist, sits in front of piles of boxes filled with books in storage.
Kay Rieder, Belfor Restoration Specialist

Kay described the process of dealing with wet books: “When we get wet materials we put it straight in our trailer, which is set at zero degrees. They then go in a freeze-dry chamber and that chamber puts it in a dry state and when the books come out they’re completely dry.”

These people are just a small part of the Hale Library emergency response team. As disheartening as it can be to think of the fire this summer, the knowledge that our books and building are in good hands made the process much easier, and we loved seeing it all captured so beautifully on “Rescue Heroes.”

Students explore the state of Hale Library

From the outside, Hale Library looks relatively normal. Sure, there is a fence around it, and there is obviously some sort of construction going on, but the building’s exterior does not mirror the level of destruction inside.

This week we started a new semester, complete with new students wondering why the library is under construction. Even though we have been posting updates, there seems to be a disconnect with students about why Hale Library isn’t open.

In order to get a student’s perspective on what’s happening inside the building, the week before finals I joined a group of K-State Libraries Student Ambassadors on a tour so I could see the damage through their eyes and get their honest opinions.

Gutted office space on the first floor with exposed wall
Gutted office space in Hale.

The inside of the building has been stripped of almost all furniture and carpet, with a few remaining belongings sitting on the second floor. Most of the building is unrecognizable, and extension cords trail along the ceiling for lighting.

“I remember walking around Hale thinking that I knew where we were, and then Dean Lori would say something and I would realize that I had no idea where I was,” said Matthew Millholm, a junior agricultural education major.

The second floor is home to a few tables that survived the fire and random boxes. Wefald said of the second floor, “I was surprised that there was still some stuff left inside on one of the floors, like office chairs, desks, and even Christmas decorations.”

A group of students walks up poorly lit, damaged stairs. Extension cords trail across the ceiling.
The railings lining the stairs aren’t particularly stable; they shift and make loud and frightening noises.

The combination of the exposed wall and partially destroyed tile on the staircase between the first and second floors was haunting, but we made it. From there, we took the elevator to the third and fourth floors, which was terrifying, but in different ways: There are no lights in the elevator. It was pitch dark.

This really brought home what Dean Lori Goetsch explained to us about the power in the building: Right now, all of the electricity is a low level of “construction power” that is brought into Hale Library from outside. As a result, areas that don’t absolutely have to be lit up (like the elevators) are left dark. It will be a huge job to replace all of the building’s electrical wiring so that it has its own power again.

Two Library Student Ambassadors look at students walking below from the room that used to house iTAC.
Two library student ambassadors, Brooke Sullivan and Matthew Milholm, look at students walking below from the room that used to house iTAC.

“The third and fourth floors are completely empty,” Milholm said. “I think that’s where I really realized that the renovation is going to be a lot longer process than what I expected.”

The Great Room has seen better days but is under active construction. We barged in on two workers who looked very surprised to see us. Despite the scaffolding and the construction, the room is still gorgeous.

“It was a little bittersweet going inside the Great Room and walking by my old study spot because it really does look like a completely different building now,” Victoria Sparkman, a senior political science major, said.

Sunlight filters through the scaffolding in The Great Room.
Scaffolding and amazing lighting in The Great Room.

After the fire, all the carpet needed to be torn out. As we exited the Great Room, we encountered a portion of the floor that is still alarmingly sticky from carpet glue.

A student sits in the only chair on the otherwise empty third floor
Victoria Sparkman sitting in the lone chair in this part of the third floor.

Even after all of the demolition and repairs, there are still places in the building that look beautiful. This is the woodworking room, boxed in by plastic sheets and dedicated to repairing wooden trim from the Great Room.

Rows of wood lay on the ground in a makeshift woodworking studio
Woodworking room on the fourth floor.

The fourth floor was probably the most terrifying of all. The students—and, off the record, some of the adults—thought it would have made an excellent haunted house, with the exposed brick, scattered debris, and office space that has been temporarily transformed into a lair of some kind.

“It was very cool to see the old brick walls that were covered up when Hale was expanded over the years; it was like seeing more of Hale’s history,” Sparkman said.

Exposed brick walls and the entrance to a dark room that used to be part of the Academic Learning Center.
This haunting room was once part of the Academic Learning Center.
This gaping hole in the ceiling shows where the fire began, on the roof above the Academic Learning Center on the fourth floor.
This gaping hole shows where the fire began on the roof above the Academic Learning Center on the fourth floor.
Students walk up the stairs to the fifth floor. A chandelier hangs covered in plastic.
Stairway to Heaven (or stairs to the relatively undamaged fifth floor).

The fifth floor is surprisingly intact because it was not damaged by the water. Because of this, desks, carpet and other items were left behind. This floor is where special collections were housed, so they escaped intact, although they were moved offsite for storage and will need to be cleaned.

“One of the weirdest things was going to the fifth floor and having it look relatively normal while the rest of the building looked so different,” Wefald said.

A student rubs the nose of a bust of Abraham Lincoln, one of a few items that still remain on the fifth floor.
Me, touching an Abraham Lincoln bust. Allegedly, if you rub his nose you’ll have good luck.

The final part of the tour took us to the stacks for special collections. There was a fan on somewhere in the room that made the plastic sheeting move. This, paired with the dangling light bulbs at the end of the dark bookshelves, made for a terrifying experience.

Plastic sheeting covers the bookshelves on the fifth floor. Bare lightbulbs hang from the exposed ceiling.
Horror movie-esque plastic sheeting that covers any bookshelves left in the library

“After leaving the tour, I realized we are going to have a brand new building,” Milholm said. “I know that the current students will have a library that is fit for them. I won’t be in school when Hale reopens, but I’m still excited about the new library.” 

At the end of the tour, we were all excited that we had the opportunity to see the inside of Hale. For the students who will graduate before it reopens, it was lovely to be able to say goodbye to the library that has been their favorite study spot for so long.

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

It’s coming: Hale Library’s new first floor will open in fall 2019! Other floors will follow in 2020.

 

On Tuesday, December 4, architects from PGAV held an open forum to share existing plans for the building and to get feedback from the K-State community.

As attendees pored over proposed floor plans, they talked about how they used Hale Library in past semesters and what they’d like to see in its future. They even considered details like noise levels and various furniture styles and configurations.

Thank you to everyone who was willing to share their reactions (and have their photo taken during a stressful dead week!)

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

“Last year I usually studied on the second floor when I had time in between classes. It was a great way to knock out a couple things or just relax. I definitely see a lot here that I like.”

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

“The first floor looks awesome, including the café right in the middle and the event space next to it. The way the noise levels are configured makes sense, how it starts with the loudest on first where the café is and then gets quieter as you go up each floor. Love the rooms with the natural lighting.”

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

Angela: “I like the open concepts and how they’re looking at different kinds of furniture to get different uses out of the space. Large tables with dividers would help for solo study, but then they also have some good examples of large desks where you could spread out or study with a group.”

Anna: “I look forward to the enclosed study rooms that you can reserve.”

Ashton Strub, senior in apparel textile emphasis on marketing

“I like the reservable group study spaces. I use the ones in the Business building all of the time, but they’re first-come, first-served, so it can be hard to find one that’s open.”

Camree Mills-Gladney, junior in communications

“There were a lot of things I loved about the old Hale Library, so I hope we don’t lose some of its good qualities. But there’s a lot of interesting features on the first floor, and the innovation center looks cool.”

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

Brien: “I got excited when I saw images of the innovation space. The rendering showed some tools on the wall, so I thought at first that it was going to include a shop, and I’m a construction science major. The architects told me it’s going to be more of a maker space and not a full shop, which makes sense for the building, but I still think it will have cool things in it that I’m looking forward to.”

Over the past several weeks, architects have been making revisions to reflect some of the feedback they’ve received in meetings and in the open forum. We look forward to sharing more renderings, floor plans and timelines in 2019!