Williamson SF Library Floods

Some holdings of the Jack Williamson SF Library at Eastern New Mexico University in Portales NM were damaged in a flood. Special Collections Librarian Gene Bundy writes in with details:

The Jack Williamson Science Fiction Library was established on the campus of Eastern New Mexico University nearly 40 years ago. A number of you have visited the library during its existence. Our area of the main building underwent a remodel in 2003. The rest of the building needed some serious updating: ie., electrical, plumbing, heating and cooling. New Mexico’s governor would only allow these changes if the building was redesigned. To meet her goals, the library holdings were reduced by about 80 percent.

Where to house the remnants? The University administration didn’t want to spend the money required for a new building, so nearly all of the library resources were moved into the basement of the Campus Union, over the protest of the library staff.

December 29, 2017, at about 12:30 p.m., the Special Collections Librarian got a call that the basement was flooded. Someone turned the heat off to save money. A pipe burst. The basement was two inches deep in water when the flood was discovered.

The water was turned off, standing water was sucked out, carpeted areas were suctioned, fans and dehumidifiers were turned on, and ceiling tiles that had fallen were removed. As of this writing we have 170 boxes of science fiction/fantasy books and 60 boxes of magazines and fanzines in a freeze-dry storage area.

Total damage is unknown. Update to follow when I know more.

The Williamson Library is one of the leading SF collections in the world, with holdings of over 30,000 volumes, including SF books, pulps dating back to the early 1900s, manuscripts, letters, photos, and other materials. Many of the items were drawn from the collection of SF Grand Master Jack Williamson, who attended ENMU and taught there for 17 years; he died in 2006 at age 98. The collection was significantly expanded in 2006 when it received a donation of 15,000 SF books and magazine from R. Duane and Kathryn Elms.

For more information see the Eastern New Mexico University website.


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