06 November 2004

Raging Waters Flood Hawai‘i's Largest Library

A torrential downpour over the Halloween weekend caused normally placid Manoa Stream to overflow its banks, overturn cars, and fill nearby buildings with layers of mud. Among the worst-hit was the University of Hawai‘i's main graduate research library. The whole Manoa campus was shut down for several days.

According to a widely circulated email from Southeast Asia librarian Yati Bernard, "the basement of Hamilton Library, which housed the Government Documents, Map Collection, Cataloging Dept., Acqusition Dept., Serials Dept., Gifts and Exchange is gone."

"We were informed that approximately 80% of the government documents were completely destroyed, 70% of the maps are gone, all newly arrived materials were destroyed," she added. About 3,000 books on Asia that were waiting to be shelved "are gone forever."

"Hamilton library is closed indefinitely, because there is no electricity, and the air is not healthy."

According to a KITV report on 5 November, the University "has hired one of the largest cleanup companies in the world" (BMS Catastrophe, not Halliburton) to help the campus recover. Cleanup costs could exceed $5 million.

A 10-minute slideshow of the library damage and cleanup efforts was online but was inaccessible when this report was posted.

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