Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The flood, the library building, and library services

Thanks to everyone who sent notes of encouragement and offers of help. They are most appreciated.

The flood: The flood was caused by a water main connection break at the new construction. The water poured in through construction-related holes in the foundation, bringing clean water (not sewage) and mud into the lower level of building.

The building: The Art Gallery, which was being used for storage during the construction, is about 6 feet lower than the rest of the lower floor. Water reached nearly to the tops of the shelving in the Art Gallery, soaking everything in storage. The water levels did not reach as high on the main part of the level, but still reached the lower shelves. Everything on the level was affected, if not by the actual flood then by the high humidity afterwards. Everything is being treated by Document Reprocessors or an art restoration company. Everything except the art should start coming back to us in about a month, at which point we will decide if it is usable (as opposed to salvageable, since they aren't exactly the same thing.)

Staff who had office and work space on the lower level have been accommodated on the first and second floors.

Services: Everything that was on the lower level of the building is inaccessible until the processing and cleaning is finished. That includes print journals, microfilm, SCSU theses, the Juvenile (children's fiction), Oversized, and GovDoc collections, plus everything marked Closed Stacks or Storage in CONSULS. Most Government Documents had been reclassified into the STACKS collection, and those are fine, but a few were still in the old collection. As current journal issues and newspapers come in, they will be housed on the first floor and be completely accessible.

This will not affect distance services very much. Distance students can request photocopies of materials in our collections--those journal requests will simply be filled via Interlibrary Loan instead of photocopied from our own journals. I don't believe we have ever had a book request for something in storage from a distance student, since books in storage were all older and rarely used volumes. Again, any requests of that sort will be handled through Interlibrary Loan, possibly by getting tables of contents and indexes so we can send photocopies of appropriate pages. You might have to wait a little longer, so be sure to request things early.

Distance students will probably benefit from some increased electronic access. We will be getting some trial access to a few new databases to help cover the gaps. I will cover any new databases in future posts.

Again, thanks to all for the thoughts and words of encouragement.


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