When Colorado State University alumnus George Johnson heard of the devastating flood that hit campus July 28, he immediately felt compelled to help.
Johnson’s generosity–and the generosity of other businesses, university libraries and Colorado State supporters– will dramatically help the Morgan Library’s efforts to replace some of the estimated 425,000 books and journals damaged in the flood.
Johnson, who with his father, Herbert M. Johnson, runs JAI Press Inc. and Ablex Publishing Corp. in Greenwich, Conn., has donated one of every book and journal the two companies publish to help replenish some of the items damaged in the Morgan Library’s collection. In all, the company’s gift includes about 3,000 book and journal titles worth an estimated $250,000.
Aside from his connection to Colorado State as a 1992 graduate, Johnston helps run his family’s two publishing companies, JAI Press and Ablex Publishing. Both are major suppliers of research and reference books and journals to the university. Many professors from Colorado State serve on the editorial boards for serial publications, monographs, textbooks and journals published by the companies, a relationship that made a contribution to Morgan Library flood relief efforts even more appropriate, Johnson said.
"As a company, our main source of business comes from university libraries," Johnson said. "When we heard of the disaster at Colorado State, we thought the best way to help as a publisher was to give materials students and faculty need to be successful in their academic pursuits."
JAI Press and Ablex Publishing Corp. are family-owned, international publishers of books and journals at the post- graduate and research level. University officials said the gift is especially useful because it replaces books and journals in many subject areas that were affected by the flood.
Book titles from many major subject areas were lost, including business, sociology, science, education, engineering, agriculture and veterinary medicine. The library also lost most of its bound journals dating through 1994, including humanities, social sciences and science technology. Books and journals supporting 11 out of 13 programs of academic excellence at the university were affected.
"Every book and journal damaged in the flood is undergoing restoration, but it could take up to two years to get all those materials back into the library’s collection and there is no guarantee that all of them will be salvageable," said Joel Rutstein, collection development coordinator at Morgan Library. "Our main objective is to get materials back on the shelves as quickly as possible so students and faculty have direct access to these resources. This gift from JAI and the support from other university libraries, businesses and individuals gives the library a major push toward that effort."
Donations of books in subject areas lost in the flood and collections of journals that span the past 20 years are the most urgent needs, Rutstein said. People interested in donating materials may search a comprehensive list of titles at http://www.coalliance.org, the home page for the Colorado Alliance of Research Libraries.
One small shipment of books from JAI and Ablex has arrived at AMICK Moving and Storage in Fort Collins this week and other shipments are expected to arrive over the next several days. AMICK’s owner, Gordon Taylor, has donated warehouse space to store the books until a permanent home at the library is identified. AMICK also has donated the use of its employees to unload the books and move them into storage.
Rutstein said Morgan Library has been overwhelmed with offers of help from Colorado State supporters, other university libraries and businesses interested in helping the library get back on track. A man from Cheyenne, Wyo., recently drove down to the library and donated his personal collection of "Architectural Record" spanning 20 years. The University of Colorado-Boulder has offered an extensive collection of bound journals it no longer needs.
In addition, Hewlett Packard Co. has donated equipment worth $28,000 for seven sites in the library to help library staff process requests for journal articles. Other university libraries will help Colorado State retrieve journal articles and fax them to these and other remote locations on campus so they may be forwarded to the professor or student who has made the request.
More than $20,000 has been donated to the Morgan Library Flood Relief Fund, said Julie Karbula, director of development for the university libraries. For more information about Morgan Library flood relief efforts, call (970) 491-7530.