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Staff saves HSU library books from damage in hailstorm

By Dora Miller, dmiller@ktxs.com
Published On: Aug 06 2014 07:39:06 AM CDT
Updated On: Jun 19 2014 07:33:06 AM CDT
ABILENE, Texas -

Quick-thinking staff at Richardson Library at Hardin-Simmons University saved millions of dollars of material from being destroyed by last week's hailstorm.

Alice Specht, HSU’s dean of university libraries, said the librarians used the Disaster Response Handbook to efficiently protect the library’s special collections.

"Right away they pulled plastic sheeting that we store in the library out, duct tape out," Specht said. "They started taping plastic into the windows and putting plastic over books that were close to the broken windows."

If the librarians wouldn't have gotten to the books in time, the wet pages could take days or months to recover.

"Humid pages could stick together,” Specht said. “The book starts to warp and materials could start to mold in two or three days, so you really have to get right on it to keep it dry."

The saved materials aren't cheap, either. Specht said they are worth more than people realize.

"Those Bible collections, those Kelly and Tandy Bibles, are worth more than a million dollars,” Specht said. “They were some 1611 first editions of the King James Bible.”

HSU library staff meet with an expert every two years to discuss and update the university’s disaster plan