January 29, 2022

Burst Pipes and Flooding Cause Damage to Materials at U. of Calgary Library

From The Gauntlet (A University of Calgary Student Newspaper):

Burst pipes caused flooding at the U of C’s Health Sciences campus at Foot Hills Hospital and in the new Taylor Family Digital Library, resulting in what Campus Security director Lanny Fritz called “the two biggest losses we’ve had in the last 10 years.”

Fritz said the combined damage was in excess of $1 million.

Because of a decline in elevation between the buildings, the TFDL flooding ran into the basement of the MacKimmie Library where over 9,000 boxes of texts were waiting to be moved to the new Spy Hill High Density Library.


“Out of the material that was stored in the basement, about 15 per cent of it we found to be sufficiently damp that we really wanted to freeze-dry it immediately,” said [U of C vice-provost (libraries and cultural resources) Tom] Hickerson.

The majority of the material were chronological runs of academic journals that the university said were not rare enough to be concerned about.

Students’ Union vice-president academic Alyssa Stacy said she’s not sure the texts are easily replaceable.

“They dodge if it’s an issue, they said everything is fine and the books are going to be replaced,” Stacy said. “I think the issue is about the collectables. They had some special collections that were damaged.”


All of the materials not in freeze storage are being vacuum dried, but Hickerson said some may not be recoverable.

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About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.