Kansas State University


Hale Library Blog

Building update: Sorting the collection and prepping the upper floors

As we inch closer and closer to the start of the fall semester, we wanted to share an update not just on the progress within Hale Library, but on the books that have been undergoing a rigorous cleaning and sorting process.

Our library materials have gone through quite the journey over the past two years. All materials had to be removed from the library, and each item had to go through a cleaning process. They were stored at various facilities including a restoration facility in Texas and several caves in Kansas City.

But now, the cleaned items are arriving back in Manhattan to be sorted. It’s quite a task…more than 147,000 boxes of books need to be reviewed for damage, sorted, and placed in call number order!

Boxes of books on wooden slats sit in one end of a big room.
The Libraries are using Executive Court as a sorting and staging area. We are grateful for the space to conduct this work!

For the past few weeks, Libraries staff, along with employees of Belfor, a disaster recovery and restoration company, have been unpacking and sorting books on temporary shelves set up at Executive Court. The books on the shelves need to be checked by staff to make sure they are in the correct order. We like to call this shelf reading! While time intensive, this is an important step to make sure that people can find the items they are looking for.

Dean Lori Goetch and other volunteers practice shelf reading.
Temporary shelves have been set up so that staff, including our very own Dean Lori Goetsch, can make sure the books are in the correct order.
A picture of Raymond Deiser working on the computer.
Raymond Deiser, library specialist, works on the computer to identify books that need extra help in getting to the right place on the shelves.

Thanks to dedicated staff, the book sorting is going well! We hope to begin reshelving books in Hale Library in August, though items won’t be immediately available for use in part due to ongoing construction.

Construction in the library is also going at a good clip, and the upper floors are starting to come together.

A construction worker is seen on the other side of an arched doorway.
Work continues on the Sunderland Foundation Innovation Lab. Here a construction worker can be seen through one of the historical arched doorways on the first floor.
A man walks through a doorway. To the right is a wall of limestone.
Historical details are highlighted through the building. Exposed limestone walls can be seen in several locations including outside the east entrance to the Great Room.
Several arched windows and concrete floors in Hale Library.
The third floor is looking more prepped and ready everyday. The east end of the third floor will include several study tables with lots of natural light from the arched windows.
The Dean of the Libraries looks over a railing in Hale Library.
Up on the fourth floor, the ceiling overlooking the new third floor exhibit space is ready for drywall. Dean Lori Goetsch looks down to the new exhibit space. The “We Are the Dream Mural” will go back on the wall directly in front of Dean Goetsch in the Academic Learning Center.
A picture of a classroom on the fifth floor under construction.
The Kenneth S. Davis Seminar Room in the Morse Department of Special Collections is taking shape. This new addition will allow our Special Collections staff to provide instruction with their materials in a separate space from their reading room, which is often occupied by researchers. 

Right now, we anticipate that floors three through five, as well as the Historical Farrell Library portions, will be opened to the public early next spring semester. It’s been very exciting to see the upper floors progress, and we can’t wait until we can share them with the community.

7 thoughts on “Building update: Sorting the collection and prepping the upper floors
  1. While most of Hale has and will be out of commission the majority of my daughter’s career at K-State, I can’t wait to see the finished product. It wasn’t my “favorite” place to visit while I was on campus but I have loved watching it develop, grow and become a campus icon throughout my adulthood. A library is just a staple of any college campus and ours was one of the prettiest. Having worked in restoration for 5 years, when we came to campus for enrollment shortly after the fire, my heart felt so heavy knowing what it meant from a cost, equipment and time perspective to put it back together. My hats go off to all the people who have tirelessly worked and I can’t wait to see it completely open again.

    1. Thank you for your support, Cherri! We are constantly amazed at the hard work and dedication of the people who are restoring Hale Library.

  2. I can’t wait to visit the finished library. As a student my favorite place was the library. Question: as you sort through all those books are you going to decide to get rid of some, and, if so, will you make them available by sale or gift?

    1. The Libraries are required to follow state statute, K.S.A.S. 75-6602, and the Kansas Board of Regents (KBOR) policy regarding disposal and disposition of property. Both the state statute and KBOR policies inform the Libraries’ options. We are unable to give away state property to individuals.

  3. Hi! to Raymond from the back room at Salina Public!

    Love seeing the progress and looking forward to a view of the
    finished project.

  4. Every single one of these posts literally gives me goosebumps and inspires me. I am a two-time grad and a retired school/public librarian who, despite all those experiences, can only imagine the scope of your task. Thank you for loving both the building and the books and sharing your journey with us.

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