Team Effort Secures Collections after Water Leak
On Sunday night, June 15, Liana Zhou, Director of Library and Archives, was getting ready to leave the Institute after preparing for a Monday morning meeting. She heard a sound in the hallway, and looked over to find water running down the walls. She quickly ran into the library, and found water streaming out of the ceiling above the stacks. The IU Physical Plant team arrived as soon as they could to plug the leak and extract the water from the library; staff and volunteers came in and worked through the night to rescue the collections, packing up boxes of newspapers and recent book acquisitions and sent them off to secure, offsite library freezers for preservation and recovery.
The archival specialists are confident that the preservation lab will help restore and recover the water damaged materials. Fortunately, individual archives such as Alfred C Kinsey, Harry Benjamin, John Money, Beverly Whipple, Benjamin Graber, Bill Condon and Jack Morrissey, Charles Ihlenfeild and Leah Schaefer, and organizational records such as the Kinsey Institute, SSSS and IASR are located on a different floor. They are all safe from the water and any damage.
The gallery and art spaces had much water on the floor and down the walls, but there was minimal damage to the art and photography. So our George Platt Lynes, Chagalls, Rembrandts and 70,000 photography prints are among the safe and unaffected. Several computers were soaked and the carpets and furniture needed days and 15 dehumidifiers to dry, but we consider ourselves very fortunate that damage to the collection was not more extensive. The maintainence team estimated that they pulled several hundred gallons of water out of the library stacks alone. This was an internal plumbing accident - a cracked filter attached to a system humidier - not due to recent rains and flooding in Indiana.
We had excellent help from conservation librarians and preservation curators, from the Office of the VP for Research at IU, from the Physical Plant team and from our own competent and very dedicated staff. Though we were closed to the public for a week, we are again open for daily gallery tours and library visitors. The collection staff (Liana Zhou, Catherine Johnson-Roehr, Shawn Wilson, Garry Millius, & Jonathon Ingels) thank our colleagues, donors, and volunteers for their support during this time.
An experience such as this reminds us of the unique treasures under our stewardship, and the importance of being ever-vigilant. We are keenly aware of the need for a state-of-the-art space for our treasured collections, and have been developing a plan over the past 2 years. If you are interested in knowing more about our space needs and plans, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 812-855-7686 to talk to us about possibilities.
« Return to Summer 2008 Contents