Exhibit and booklet commemorate 10th anniversary of Hamilton Library flood

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Gwen Sinclair, (808) 956-5424
Interim Associate University Librarian, Library Services
Posted: Oct 9, 2014

The flood-ravaged Map Collection on the ground floor of Hamilton Library in 2004.
The flood-ravaged Map Collection on the ground floor of Hamilton Library in 2004.
The restored area of Hamilton Library today.
The restored area of Hamilton Library today.

The night of October 30, 2004, reshaped the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa Library forever.

At five minutes before 8:00 p.m., a flash flood overflowed the banks of Mānoa Stream and rushed through the campus, causing damage to 32 buildings. The worst damage by far was at Hamilton Library, where water that was six to eight feet deep toppled bookshelves, overturned furniture, and broke through walls. All told, the flood damaged or destroyed millions of books, maps, aerial photographs, and government documents on the ground floor in addition to the computer server room and the Library and Information Science Program. Fortunately, no one was injured during the catastrophe.

In the wake of the devastation came an enormous outpouring of support. Volunteers from the campus and community joined library staff and students to retrieve and clean damaged items from the ground floor. Donations of everything from food and water for volunteers to replacement books and maps poured in from businesses across the state and libraries around the nation.

To commemorate the 10th anniversary of the 2004 flood, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa Library has planned these events:

  • An exhibit, titled Finding the Silver Lining of the Mānoa Flood, on display in the Bridge Gallery and Moir Reading Room at Hamilton Library, October 20, 2014 to April 30, 2015. The exhibit tells the story of how maps were rescued after the flood and explains how maps damaged by flood waters and silt were recovered. It features before and after displays of flood-damaged maps and rare maps after conservation treatment. The exhibit also highlights the expertise that the Library developed in disaster management and recovery as a result of the flood and explores the Library’s expanded capacity in conservation treatment.
  • Library faculty and staff members have assembled a commemorative booklet, Five Minutes to 8, filled with reminiscences about the flood, photographs of flood recovery activities, and a timeline of significant events after the flood and during the recovery period.

For more information, visit: http://library.manoa.hawaii.edu/