Brooke Valentin Contributing Writer
In Jan., varying temperatures caused the pipes on the third floor of the Mantor Library to leak and flood the space, forcing the library to restrict access to the third floor indefinitely.
Keenan Farwell, the interim Director of Facilities and Project Manager for UMS, said the damage was fairly extensive, damaging the ceiling tiles, sheetrock walls, carpet, lights, and ventilation. He also said, “The coil, damper and the computer for the rooftop unit all failed and will need to be replaced. We also had 2 VFD [Variable Frequency Drives] fail with coils that froze and broke, causing water to run into other areas.”
Bryce Cundick, the director of Mantor Library, found the IT department to be hit particularly hard by the flooding. “There was three inches of standing water on the floor,” said Cundick. “It really hurt IT’s area more than the library’s area, but in order to get rid of all the damage to the carpet, ceiling, and the vent, they had to move everything out of half of the space up there.”
While investigating the damage, signs of asbestos were found which had to be removed promptly. Asbestos is a mineral containing fibers that can be woven into fabrics. These fibers are composed of many microscopic ‘fibrils’ that can be released into the atmosphere. When inhaled, they can aggravate and scar lung tissue. The asbestos abatement alone cost UMF around $8,000.
Bryce Cundick examining the damage. (Photo courtesy of Brook Valentin)
The third floor housed the A through E books, juvenile and young author books, IT’s offices, study spaces and the Peter Mills Electronic Classroom. Preventive measures were enacted to protect the computers and books housed on the third floor.
“All of those computers were fine, but in our effort to get all of the books away from the water, they ended up in The Peter Mills Classroom,” said Cundick. The computers in that classroom were moved to Fusion 104, previously the Mac Lab, and is now the library instruction room until the third floor is safe to enter.
Despite the significant movement of equipment and books, only two books were damaged in the flood. But as the books are currently unorganized, they are not available to students.
Farwell recalled receiving the news about the flood over winter break on Jan. 17. “7:30 Friday morning I received a call from our HVAC Tech stating that there was water pouring from the ceiling and that the rooftop heating unit had failed and a coil had frozen,” he said. “When I arrived we manually shut off the water and the heating units to the whole building to stop the water from continuing to run, and then we started removing wet ceiling tiles and extracting the carpet.”
He was incredibly grateful to everyone who helped out, as he said, “Emergencies like this are all hands on deck and I am very thankful to have a team that will drop everything and start helping in any way that is needed.”
The library will be opening areas up for use as they become available. Farwell says that the library has a specific plan for this process. “We will be trying to phase the opening of the areas,” he said. “First should be the book shelving area, to allow access to research materials and also the computer lab, then IT space should be opened, and then the remaining areas will be opened when the project is complete.” The third floor is estimated to be fully up and running in three months.
Aislinn Forbes Contributing Writer
Returning students are sure to have noticed some changes to the Mantor Library, including the larger menu at Mantor cafe and the new layout of the second and third floors.
Tamra Hartley is the full-time supervisor at Mantor Cafe, and she had a lot to say about the new menu. Last year, Hartley and two student workers created specials nearly every week, and Hartley said customers enjoyed that. “We took the most popular ones and added them to the menu,” said Hartley.
Barista Jane Metsker whips up many of the drinks featured on Mantor Cafe’s new menu (Photo by Keely McConomy)
The updated menu includes frozen beverages and fresh spices. The chai tea is now homemade, entirely with fresh ingredients. “The old Chai we had was pure sugar,” said Hartley. “I know that students and faculty are tired, stressed, and sick, so we want to give them the best.”
Not to mention, some of the best selling specials from last year are now full-time items. Hartley assured that there would continue to be specials again this year created by the staff. “It’s a real group collaboration,” said Hartley.
The menu isn’t set in stone either, new favorites will continue to be added if they have enough support. “It’s about having a real cafe experience,” said Hartley.
While Tamra and crew were updating the cafe, the summer Mantor staff were busy doing manual labor. Three summer work study students and the full-time staff moved nearly all of the books that were on the second floor into the basement or third floor by the cartful. It took them about a month to get all of the books shifted into their new homes. Opening up the second floor has turned the space into a quiet study area, as well as a place for presentations.
Bryce Cundik, the library director, felt that the move provided the best use of space for the library. “We just finished a seven year “weeding project” which freed up a lot of shelf space,” said Cundik.
Weeding is the process of removing books that are outdated or not in use, something Jessica Isler, the Head of Circulation, described as a normal and necessary practice for a good library.
The weeding process left a lot of empty shelf space. This presented Cundik with an opportunity to solve another problem he had noticed in the library. “Pre-Student Learning Commons, [the first floor] was our reference area and it was a quiet space,” Cundik said. “We removed the shelves there and turned the whole reference area into the active learning space that it is right now.”
While Cundik recognizes that the Learning Commons is great and popular, it’s no longer quiet. “One of our goals was to get a silent study space back into the library,” said Cundik.
There is another reason the space would be useful on campus. When Cundik spoke to Eric Brown, the Interm President, Brown was interested in having a new meeting place on campus. “If you’ve got the Chancellor coming, and you want to have a nice room to meet in with everybody, something that’s not necessarily as big as Lincoln, but you’d like it to look nicer than the North Dining Hall,” said Cundik. “We didn’t really have anything like that.”
Despite the multi-use of the space, both Isler and Cundik said that quiet study space would take priority. Around Midterms and the final two weeks of the semester, the second floor will be exclusively for students. “We’re very protective of the idea of keeping a quiet study space for students,” said Isler.
These changes have been made to create a library that’s more welcoming to everyone, and an opportunity for students to influence campus. “This is kind of like a work-in-progress, this is not the final itteration,” Cundik said.
If students have ideas about how to make the second floor a better place, email firstname.lastname@example.org or stop into Cundik’s office in the Learning Commons.
By Sofia Vanoli, Contributing Writer
English professor Peter Hardy discusses his book “Thorn: The All” during his “Heavy Meta” podcast interview. (Photo Courtesy of Google Books)
Mantor Library is currently working in conjunction with WUMF to produce podcasts under the moniker “Heavy Meta,” which feature UMF professors discussing their recent books and publications.
“We discuss current events, interview UMF authors, and talk about what’s happening at the library,” said Bryce Cundick, Manager of Instructional and Research Services. He continued explaining that the shows run about 30 minutes each.
Cundick and Kelly Boivin, Information and User Services at Mantor Library, have been working on the radio live shows since last year, but due to schedule and timing conflicts, they decided to podcast the shows instead.
Some of the topics they’ve already covered are bullying and favorite book series. So far Cundick and Boivin have interviewed professors of mathematics Peter Hardy and Paul Gies, and professors of English, Michael Johnson and Luann Yetter.
Hardy was one of the volunteers to be interviewed. He talked very proudly about the last book of his trilogy, “Thorn: The All.” He said he had a positive experience and commented that, “It is important to spread the word about our publications.”
The shows are meant to inform the audience about what is going on at the library, but they are also meant to entertain with talks and discussions.
“I hope these shows will inspire people to write,” said Hardy.
Professor Johnson has also stepped up and shared his views on his book “Hoo-Doo Cowboys and Bronze Buckaroos: Conceptions of the African American West.”
Andrew Martin, a junior majoring in psychology and the WUMF Station Manager, works together with Cundick and Boivin to carry out this project.
“I meet with Bryce and Kelly on a weekly basis and I record their show, then edit out any mistakes, and edit it to improve sound quality,” said Martin who seemed very passionate about his job at WUMF.
“This has been my favorite project because we get involved with the community and the other staff members here by offering them the chance to come and do an interview on the show,” said Martin. “Also it is a lot of fun to do. Bryce and Kelly are very enthusiastic and love what they do and make it really entertaining.”
The whole team is looking forward to hosting more people who wish to talk about their publications (books, poems, articles) and their writing styles. They revealed that one of the upcoming topics they will be dealing with is the timely issue of fake news.
“Heavy Meta” podcasts are now available on iTunes.