Mayday! Mayday!

by - 11/05/2009

Today, I walked into work (Special Collections & Archives center of the Library) at 2:56 p.m. Plenty of time to clock in, get settled in my bouncy blue chair, and prepare for two hours of converting archive lists into html.. aka computer geek-ness (cause I kinda like it).

Just as I was about to go off into the land of complicated codes, a man in a blue shirt with the logo "USU Maintenance" came rushing through the door.

"Who is in a position of authority down here? I need to talk to someone."

I was caught off guard. "Uh... Um... Talk to Bob! He's right over there."

Naturally, I was curious, and I couldn't help but overhear. He rushed over to Bob and said, "We've been working in the Quad-Side Cafe upstairs and we accidentally cut through a water-line and there's been some flooding. Just came down to let you know that you might be getting some down here."

I wasn't too surprised, nor did I blame him, as I heard some choice words escape Bob's mouth. He rushed to the back room to let the other staffers know.

See, Special Collections & Archives, as you might be able to tell by the name of the place, houses some very special books, papers, pictures, archives of the university, mormon church histories, journals, and various other irreplaceable things. For example, we recently acquired a book that was over $700. One book. If water touches these things, it's bad news people, bad news.

My imagination zoomed into over-drive as I sat frozen in my chair. I pictured tumultuous waves pouring through the ceiling onto all of those precious books, washing them off the shelves down a river of mashed paper, bindings, and smudged, unreadable ink.

My heart ached at the thought. How could we even begin to protect hundreds of thousands of books from water damage?

All of us workers patrolled the shelving area, checking the ceiling anxiously for any sign of water coming through, holding our breath and hoping against hope that everything would be alright.

All of a sudden, a shout was heard around the corner. "Water comin' down over here! Come quick!"

We rushed over, every one of our faces pale white with fear.

Not wanting to see the terribleness of my imaginations coming to life, I slowed as I reached the corner.

A thousand alarming images, thoughts, and emotions were flashing across my mind.

I couldn't put it off any longer. I turned the corner and....

There was the water, drip-dropping quite serenely from the ceiling...

Over the one section of divinely empty shelves.

Relief washed over me, as well as embarrassment for my wild imaginations (good thing I was the only one there who knew about them). Bob assured us that the maintenance crew had turned the water off, and this would be the extent of the flooding. He asked two of the workers to grab towels and mop up as much as possible, and instructed the rest of us to get back to work.

I walked quietly back to my bouncy blue chair. With a little chuckle to myself, I returned to my work. My imagination is a wee bit ridiculous... but it sure made today more interesting.

Most importantly, though, I'm glad all my pretty books are safe.

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