On May 22, 2018 there was an accidental fire on the roof of Hale Library. The Manhattan Fire Department and several other surrounding fire departments were able to successfully extinguish the blaze.
Hale Library suffered substantial damage as a result of the smoke and the large amount of water needed to extinguish the fire. The building will remain closed for the 2018-2019 school year. A timeline is still being discussed for reopening the building.
Library and IT services have been relocated across campus. View the Hale Recovery layer on the K-State map or see a list of locations online, including alternative printing, computer and study locations. We invite you to follow our journey to restore Hale Library on the Hale Library blog.
Most library materials that were in Hale will be inaccessible for an extended period. All library materials will be removed from Hale for cleaning. K-State faculty, staff and students are encouraged to use our free interlibrary loan service. You can submit requests for books and articles, and we will work to get them from other libraries for you. If you have questions about this service, please contact us! Our Ask A Librarian service is also up and running, and we are happy to help with any questions you might have. All branch libraries are also fully operational and a new library help desk is located near Radina's in the K-State Student Union. For additional information on library services since the fire, please visit the Hale Library FAQ page.
The fire impacted K-State’s technology infrastructure. The data center located in the basement of Hale Library had a significant amount of water damage. Systems and power were shut down to save the servers and data. IT staff worked round the clock to restore network and data services. The IT Help Desk, the Media Center and the ITS services located on the second floor were completely destroyed. The IT Help Desk has been relocated to the K-State Student Union Cat’s Pause Lounge, other iTAC staff are in the College of Business Building, Lafene Health Center and the Unger complex. Follow our progress as we rebuild our IT infrastructure and user services on the ITS Recovery page. For updates on system and services maintenance and outages, visit the ITS Status blog.
Hale Library recovery
The damage to Hale Library was extensive, and it will take time to recover and restore. The university contracted with an international property restoration company, Belfor. They have removed most of the carpet and ceiling tiles in the building, and a large amount of drywall due to water damage. Sadly, the historic side of the library was the hardest hit. The original 1927 Farrell Library including the Great Room, or Harry Potter Room, will require extensive restoration efforts. We are working with restoration experts to assess the damage, and create a plan for the room and the murals.
Most of the wet library materials were contained to the circulating collection in room 117. These items have been removed from Hale and placed in freezers to halt the growth of mold. They have been transported to preservation facilities in Texas for assessment.
Other library materials in Hale suffered heavy smoke damage, requiring most items to be cleaned individually by hand. With over 1.5 million items in Hale Library, this process will take considerable time. We feel very fortunate that our Special Collections and University Archives did not suffer any water damage. They do have some smoke damage and will also need to be cleaned.
The future of Hale Library
The university is working with insurance adjusters to assess the damage. An estimated amount of damages has not been released yet.
As stated by President Myers, Hale Library is the heart and soul of our Manhattan campus. Before the fire, we were about to embark on a complete renovation of the first floor to create a collaborative, technology-enhanced space to support student success at K-State. We plan to continue this project, and now see an opportunity to expand our renovation efforts. With many areas of the library down to the studs, we figure there’s no time like the present to create the next-generation library. If you would like to contribute to the restoration of Hale, a fund has been set up with the KSU Foundation. We are deeply grateful for all the support we’ve received from the entire K-State family.