By Jeannette Carrington
‘Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the library, not a creature was stirring, except for a malfunctioning heating system and burst pipes.
The Reid Memorial Library experienced significant water damage on Christmas Eve 2022, but miraculously, all the books survived the flood.
Julie Laakko-Swanson, a librarian at the library, explained that the issue with the heating caused the sprinklers to freeze and burst, spilling water all over the back part of the library where they had a lounge room, technical processing, and writing desks.
Laakko-Swanson said, “The security guards described it as a ‘waterfall coming down the walls.’ Unfortunately, all the writing desks and computers on the floor were damaged. The computers in the computer lab also got wet, and all the staff offices had a computer setup on the ground, so they also got wet. However, the new furniture that was recently installed in the library a few weeks before the flood was spared from damage.”
The library’s staff has worked tirelessly to ensure that they continue to provide support to the students in the school community. Dennis Krieb, Director of Institutional Research and Library Services expressed his gratitude for his team, “We are blessed with great staff. They’ve made it easy, and we are still going.” Krieb noted that they have contributed their sweat and tears to make sure the library remains operational.
Krieb’s office was affected by the flood, and he is currently working out of Vice President of Academic Affairs Sue Czerwinski’s conference room. When asked how it is affecting him and his workday, he said, “Well, I’m not in the library, which is a bummer because I can’t see the people that I work with. But it’s as good as it could be.”
“We had to do a lot of physical work in here, moving things around, and dirty work, but we’ve got great staff, so that’s why we’re still here.”, Krieb said.
All work is being done in stages, and the library hopes to have staff back in their offices by summer. The repairs are estimated to be completed by fall. The ceiling tiles, walls, and carpet will all be replaced due to infrastructure damage. The HVAC system will also be taken out to air out the water in the walls and ensure that everything is dry. They are currently using portable radiators to keep the library warm since water got into the heating system.
Despite the damage, Laakko-Swanson said, “We are open and functioning in all capacities except for printing, but we are hoping that back soon.” For those in need of printing services, the computer lab in Trimpe Room 250 is available.
The Reid Memorial Library’s Circulation Desk is open Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and on Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Chat and Zoom online reference support is available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Although the library has experienced significant damage, they have persevered through the challenges, thanks to their dedicated staff. They are still open, and students are encouraged to continue to utilize their services.