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Donation Program And Renovations Nearly Complete At Colorado State's Morgan Library One Year After Flood

Thursday, July 16, 1998

Note to editors: Interested media may schedule a tour of the renovated Morgan Library basement by calling the Office of University Relations at (970) 491-6432. Media are invited to attend a recognition ceremony for library donors and staff from 5-7 p.m. July 27 in the courtyard of Morgan Library.

FORT COLLINS--One year after the July 28, 1997 flood, crews at Colorado State University's Morgan Library are in the final stages of sorting a half million donated volumes, of which 80,000 are exact matches for volumes damaged in the flood.

Last year's flood filled the lower level of Morgan Library with water, damaging 437,000 volumes and journals. Since then, 500,000 volumes have been donated from other universities, faculty members, individuals and publishers. Of these volumes, 80,000-100,000 will be used by the library.

"We've made tremendous progress rebuilding our collection thanks to the generosity of so many across the country," said Camila Alire, dean of the Colorado State Libraries. "When donations began pouring in, we launched a formal gift solicitation and in nine months, donors produced more materials than we could have anticipated. Some of these materials are exact replacements for damaged volumes, others will be given to other libraries or added to our collection after the flood recovery process is complete."

Workers will finish sorting, binding, stamping, labeling and shelving the donated materials in September. By then, Alire said, there will be more than 80,000 pristine donated volumes on the shelves for patrons' use.

The processing plant, now located in the library basement, will be relocated to Green Hall August 1. This will open up the remainder of the basement for refurbishing. The majority of the interior has already been renovated and outside repairs on the building are complete. A wall has also been built along the west side of the library to prevent damage from occurring should a flood like last summer's happen again. By this spring semester, the entire lower level of the library will be open for patron use.

"Concentrating on the donated materials before processing the damaged volumes has given us the opportunity to put clean undamaged materials back on the shelves," said Alire.

Of the top 100 most heavily requested journals from interlibrary loan, donations were received for all except six titles, according to Joel Rutstein, the librarian who has coordinated the book donation program. Rutstein said about 20 percent of donated materials will be an exact match for material damaged in the flood. He is currently working with other libraries and overseas development networks to find appropriate locations for donated materials Morgan Library cannot use.

The 437,000 books and journals that were damaged in the flood were shipped to Texas and Wyoming last fall for restoration through a special freeze-drying process. Seven-thousand test volumes have been shipped to the university to examine for re- use.

"We're anticipating that the contractor, Boss and Associates, will start accepting restored material to be put back on the shelves beginning September 1."

When the restored materials begin to arrive, Boss and Associates' processing plant expects to process 25,000 volumes each month.

As flood recovery efforts progress, library patrons continue to access materials electronically through Morgan Library's interlibrary loan program, a program identified by the Association of Research Libraries as being one of the best in North America. The number of borrowing transactions this year went up to 150,000 from an average of 20,000 in past years.

"We were very fortunate to have so many automated library services in place before the flood," said Alire. "Our electronic interlibrary loan program enabled us to provide service for patrons looking for inventory that had been damaged. Ninety percent of requests were filled in two days or less. Many times the remote receiving stations set up across campus delivered articles in less time than it would take to walk to Morgan Library and look them up."

On July 27, Morgan Library will host a reception and ceremony to thank library staff and donors for their flood recovery efforts. During the ceremony, a glass art piece recognizing major contributors will be unveiled and placed permanently in the library.

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