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Constantly Changing Picture

Thursday, June 12, 2008

In the morning we were told that there are no current plans to evacuate the Main Library. The Main Library is one of the buildings that they know MAY need to be evacuated at some point because of our location– but we are NOT at that point now nor do we anticipate this today. 

In the afternoon we learned that the Corps of Engineers expects the flow to increase and we are under a 5pm Friday deadline for what we need to move from the basement.  At this time, we are concentrating on the lower shelves of Special Collections in the basement. Plus we started working with the members of the Preservation and Shipping departments to prepare to move them out of the lower level, if necessary.

Our attempts to organize sandbagging the dock to prevent any flood waters from entering the lower level is having its ups and downs. First we hear we can; then we hear we can’t. The UI is having problems with keeping a steady supply of sandbags. One encouraging note is that the power to the Main Library is on fairly high ground and not in an underground tunnel.

Joel Maxey, Sid Huttner and Greg Prickman worked with teams to move Special Collections materials out of the lower level storage area. Some material was moved to higher shelves; the rest was moved up to the 5th floor study lounge at the south end of the building. Enough staff pitched in to help that the move is completed before the end of the day. The move was accomplished with a combination of human chain to aisle to UI Main Library Elevationscarts to elevator.

I believe we are all in agreement that if we do a 2nd phase of removing material from the basement, we should wait and make that decision during our 9AM meeting. Ed Shreeves is reviewing a crude list of items in the basement storage and Sid Huttner and Greg Prickman are regrouping/reviewing what is in the special collections area of high value.  

At some point we get new high water levels : Iowa Avenue to Burlington Street – 650.5. That’s us! As Gary Grout stated, “Not good news.”

At 5PM, Nancy Baker received word that the Main Library will be closing, Friday, June 13 at 5 p.m. for an indeterminate period of time. All staff members will evacuate by Saturday, June 14 at 5 p.m. Libraries and University officials are re-locating staff to other campus locations for the duration.With so few roads and bridges open, it took us 2 1/2 hours to get home. We are met with the unbelievable sight of our town, Cedar Rapids, under water. Sight seers further delay traffic. It is hard not to cry.