About

Response

Saturday October 30, 2004

At 8PM a flash flood surged through the ground floor of Hamilton Library.

Everything in the path of the water was thrown against structural walls.

Silt was everywhere: in map drawers, in between maps; there were even fish in the Library’s server room.

This map shows the path of the water down Manoa valley, across Maile Way, and into the Library.

On the evening of October 30th, the flood waters were still high on the ground floor. However key staff met to determine priorities (rescue maps and aerial photographs of Hawaii and the Pacific region).

The Library Preservation Department staff were prepared to respond. We had a disaster plan in place, and staff were trained. Our first goal was to move materials out of the mud and into freezers as fast as possible.

Five freezer containers were delivered on Sunday evening, and on Monday morning, maps were moved to a staging area, then into containers.

Following this same procedure, staff also began moving the aerial photographs to a staging area and then loading them into the freezer containers.

Damage from inside the Library. Staff removing items.

To prevent a mold outbreak (secondary disaster), the remaining five floors of Hamilton Library needed to have cool, dry air brought in using generators. There was no electricity for three months while a temporary solution was created to override the damaged infrastructure.

The dry air was circulated on every floor and indeed prevented a mold outbreak. Library staff and students paged books for patrons in the dimly lit library.

Ask a Librarian

Back To Top