Bass Library has reopened, after a month of cleaning and repairs to address damage from a flood. Also as of March 1, night and weekend hours have resumed in both Bass and Sterling. The new hours for both libraries are now10 am -10 pm Monday through Thursday, 10 am - 5 pm on Friday and Saturday, and noon - 6 pm on Sundays. Bass Library media equipment loans and room reservations will also resume this week.
The flood in Bass was precipitated just after closing on a frigid Friday evening in late January when a frozen sprinkler line in the upper-level ceiling burst. Water poured down and flowed in all directions before the leak was discovered by a custodian and the water could be turned off. The water filled the conduits that carry electrical and internet cables beneath the floor and leaked from there to the lower level, said John Clegg, director of Building Operations and Security. More water cascaded down the stairs.
A disaster recovery company was called in the same evening to pump out water and begin drying out the space. Massive heaters, fans, and dehumidifiers had to run for several days, leaching moisture out of the air, before the damage could be fully assessed. Now, contractors are replacing sections of ruined wallboard, ceiling, and wood paneling; shampooing carpets; and cleaning stonework.
The impact on the library’s 65,000-volume collection was fortunately minimal. About 730 books were shipped off-site for drying and further evaluation. No rare or difficult-to-replace items were affected.
Originally opened in 1971 as Cross Campus Library, the underground library was reimagined as the Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Library in 2007. Decorative elements, including the entry pavilions on Cross Campus and the tile frieze at the end of the tunnel from Sterling Library, were designed to visually connect the renovated space with Sterling Library’s Gothic motifs. In 2019, Bass was again renovated to expand study space and increase the flow of natural light from the building’s sunken courtyards. At that time, the collection was substantially renewed and consolidated on the lower level.
Photo: Mara Lavitt