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Your faculty and staff news since 1965
January 18, 2005
Volume 40, Number 6

Library partially closes
Burst water pipes result in alternative plan for patrons

By Karen Wentworth

Two burst water pipes have forced the closure of the lower level of Centennial Library.

The problem will make it difficult for science and engineering students, who will have to find books through interlibrary loans during spring semester.

Library Director Johann van Reenen hopes the lower level can be reopened by April. Level one has already reopened, and periodical and reference services are available.

More than 200,000 books housed on the lower level have been packed and stored along with about 220,000 maps. No serious damage to the books was reported, but University Libraries does not have room to display the books at another location. Several maps were affected by the leak, but they have been freeze-dried and will be restored.

The problem was reported by an alert postdoctoral student who called van Reenen Christmas Eve. Van Reenen arrived to find ceiling tiles falling in level two and damage in the circulation area. Plumbers quickly arrived to shut off the water, but the damage had been done.

Workers from the physical plant and outside contractors worked through the holidays to extract the water from the building and set up dehumidifiers.

“We were lucky that the leak was discovered so soon, otherwise there could have been much more significant damage,” van Reenen said. “As it is, only a few hundred books were actually damaged as well as parts of the map collection. University Libraries has a plan in place to provide the best possible alternatives for patrons needing books.”