UW-Superior tries to save 200,000 books from flooded library


UW-Superior library employees are working to save their books. Most of the 200,000 volume collection was damaged at the Jim Dan Hill Library during last month’s flood. While the library is locked and being cleaned, the library books have taken up a new residence. Now instead of taking up three floors in its own building, the entire library is in a single computer lab. Cataloguer Janet Baltes says it is difficult in the cramped area.

The staff is trying to update the catalogue of books, which Library Acquisitions worker Beverly Sturgis says took a long time to develop. “It was very hard,” she says. “Buying books is done one title at a time. You get a personal relationship with every book I think as you go through it; it is not like you buy a box of assorted books.”

Senior student Hannah Pickett of Superior also works at the Jim Dan Hill Library. She says the basement of the library carried a large assortment of books, and losing them is very difficult. “I love books,” she says. “It is interesting because there were so many different topics down there that you would just discover a new thing every day. Just browsing through the books, being so close to the books, having to reshelf them; One day I was re-shelving books, the ancient history of Rome. Then the next day, I would be looking at quantum physics books or having to reshelf a variety of books down there.”

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Some of the damaged books may be converted into e-books, which are books available online and through e-readers, while the rest of the 200,000 books may be recovered through a freeze-drying process. But for now, the click and clack of keyboards and the glow of computer monitors is where they call home.