Preserving Hale Library and all of its contents is a huge undertaking for Kansas State. Lori Goetsch, dean of libraries, said the exact number of workers is unknown, but she estimates there are between 150 and 200 people working on the recovery effort.
After the May 22 fire, 1.5 million books, furniture, shelving and other items were removed from the library. It took 17 weeks to remove all 147,400 boxes. Wet materials were in 4,000 of those boxes that were shipped to Fort Worth, Texas, to be cleaned and preserved.
The remaining books were those with smoke damage and that cleaning process should be completed by May.
“Belfor estimates that 90 percent of the wet material is salvageable, but we will not know for sure until the cleaning process is over,” Goetsch said. “They are still being processed.”
The books are contained in 10 different storage facilities: three in Manhattan, one in Junction City and six caves in Underground Vaults & Storage of Kansas City, Missouri. The caves provide a stable climate to preserve the books, Goetsch said.
On campus, there are 150 library employees working in nine satellite locations. Fifty of those employees are students.
“Our blog is kept up to date with progress,” Goetsch said.”We hope to open the first floor by fall 2019 with the rest of the building open by fall of 2020.”
Goetsch said through the Help for Hale link, about $120,000 in donations have been received. However, the cost of the renovation remains unknown until the final insurance statements are made. They hope to know within the next month, Goetsch said.