Donated Materials Continue Pouring into Colorado State’s Morgan Library Six Months After Flood

Note to Editors: Interested media may schedule a tour of the Morgan Library basement, where flood recovery efforts and the processing of donated books and journals are under way, by calling the Office of University Relations, (970) 491-6432.

In the basement of Colorado State University’s Morgan Library, more than 140 workers are processing thousands of donated books and journals earmarked to replace some of the 425,000 volumes damaged in the July 28 flood.

In the six months since the flood, university research libraries, publishing companies and scientists from around the country have pledged to give more than 309,000 books and journals to Colorado State’s Morgan Library. To date, the library has received 130,000 volumes, with truckloads of donated materials arriving daily.

Library officials say the overwhelming outpouring of donations represents the largest known book donation program in the history of university libraries.

"The support we have received from people all over the country since the flood is unprecedented and is truly heartfelt," said Camila Alire, dean of libraries at Colorado State. "The Morgan Library will likely end up with more holdings in its collection than it had when the flood hit, and it’s because of the tremendous amount of donated materials."

Joel Rutstein, the library’s collection development officer who is coordinating the book donation program, said many organizations and individuals have come forward with generous gifts. For example, European publisher Elsevier and its subsidiary Pergamon Press donated all of the journals it published from 1990-1995, a gift worth $1.5 million. JAI Inc. and Ablex Publishing of Greenwich, Conn., gave 3,000 book and journal titles worth more than $250,000. Other publishers and university presses, such as Springer-Verlag, John Wiley Publishers, Haworth Press and Clarendon Press at Oxford University each donated hundreds of books or journals in subject areas that were lost in the flood. Other universities in Colorado and nationwide also have made major contributions. Colorado School of Mines donated more than 10,000 science volumes it received from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Rocky Flats Library, while the University of Wyoming contributed more than 50,000 volumes when it recently closed its American Heritage Center Library.

Rutstein added that several retired professors from both Colorado State and other universities are helping the cause by making their own contributions. As a political science professor at California State University-Long Beach, Leroy Hardy amassed more than 10,000 volumes of political science journals. He recently donated his entire collection to Morgan Library.

"More than 2,700 individuals, libraries and corporations have contacted us in the past six months to offer books, journals or other materials to Colorado State," Rutstein said. "We’re still getting calls even months after the flood and the word is still spreading about what happened here."

While workers process donated materials and get them back on the shelves, recovery efforts using freeze-drying techniques continue in Fort Worth, Texas, for volumes damaged in the flood. Because the book donation program has been so successful, workers will concentrate on processing all of those materials before any freeze-dried books are returned to the university.

"We’re trying to keep this process as organized and efficient as possible, and with as little disruption to faculty, staff and students as possible," Alire said. "Thanks to the dedication of so many individuals, we’ve come a long way in the few short months since the flood."