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More Wet Books

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Art Librarian called early this morning informing us that a pipe had burst, soaking the oversize art book collection. The good news was that they had caught the water break early and that it was clean water. The bad news was that a majority of the books had clay-coated pages (glossy like a magazine) and if they dried before we could separate the pages the books would become bricks –never to be opened again. We estimated that about 2,400 books were wet.

We were over with an assessment team by 9:15 AM. Staff arrived shortly after that with needed supplies and the work began. We began pulling books out and setting them up for air drying. It didn’t take long to figure out that we would not be able to air dry all the wet books.

The Art Librarian, Rijn Templeton, selected the most valuable books for us to air dry while I called in a freezer truck and supplies to box up the remainder of the books. We sent out a call for volunteers to assist. Help poured in all day (excuse the pun). By 3:45 PM we had 165 volumes dried, 296 still air drying, and around 1,800 volumes packed in boxes and on the freezer truck. Special kudos to Kim Carpenter, Art Library Assistant, for acting quickly when he discovered the leak.