May 19, 2022

Books Damaged by Water From Broken Valve at North Dakota Supreme Court Law Library

From the Bismarck Tribune:

A broken valve led to water damaging books Wednesday afternoon in the North Dakota Supreme Court Law Library.

John Boyle, director of state Facilities Management, said contractors were working on a fan coil replacement project in the state Capitol’s judicial wing, when around 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, a contractor was shutting off an old valve when it broke and began spraying water on a couple shelves of books, some volumes as old as the 1850s and 1880s.

Law Library assistant Paula Amelsberg said Arrow Cleaning Services took some of the damaged books to be salvaged with a freeze-drying process.

“I’m hoping they’ll come out OK,” she said.

The North Dakota State Library has also lent a hand. State librarian Mary Soucie said her staff trundled eight carts of books from the law library to be salvaged with commercial-grade dehumidifiers and fans. Once shelving has dried and Amelsberg gives the OK, Soucie said her staff will return the materials.

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About Gary Price

Gary Price ( 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, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.