Guest post by Sandi Thompson, head of Ambler Campus Library
Editor’s note: On September 1, 2021, the remnants of Hurricane Ida swept through the Greater Philadelphia region. During the storm, an EF2-level tornado caused serious damage to Temple’s Ambler Campus, including the Ambler Campus Library.
We are happy to report that as of Monday, November 8, the Ambler Campus Library is open in a scaled-down capacity in the Ambler Technology Center (inside the Ambler Learning Center) from 8:30 am–5:00 pm, Monday–Friday.
While rebuilding efforts are underway, Ambler Campus is forever altered by September’s storm. With 510 trees down and gone, the skyline has been changed for future generations. I’ve even heard that some people who travel here on Route 309 say they don’t recognize the exit or the area. Homes close by also received major damage, and some are still uninhabitable. Thankfully, even though people were on campus, tornado warnings were sent out and no one was hurt. Of course, many people were scared and shaken. And it’s the people who are most important here—those who work here, those who take classes here, and the locals who use our services and spaces for leisure and contemplation.
At the Ambler Campus Library, ten windows were blown in, allowing 130 mile per hour winds and hard rain into the library proper. Windows in offices were also blown in. In all, we lost approximately 17,000 books, including all of our oversize books.
On the day after the tornado, three staff members worked quickly to save archival material by moving it out of wet conditions into dry spaces. (Would you believe the only “dry” spaces in the building were the restrooms?) Even the fire marshal, who was on campus taking inventory, pitched in and helped us move those materials to the dry space!
Within a short time, all our archival materials were sent down to Charles Library and Kardon (our remote storage facility on Main Campus) in two trucks, and now reside there in a safe, dry, environmentally-controlled environment. The rest of our collections were packed and delivered to Charles Library on Friday, November 5. In total, we sent 2,358 crates of Ambler material (or close to 57 tons)!
On Monday, November 8, we are opening our scaled-down library in a space graciously shared with us by the ITS department in the Ambler Technology Center, which is inside the Ambler Learning Center. Our hours will be 8:30 am–5:00 pm, Monday–Friday. There, we’ll have approximately 4,900 books, including an additional 110 titles from the general stacks, 160 items for reference, 101 items for leisure reading, 195 DVDs, and—just for fun—five VHS tapes! These items were all handpicked by staff, and we hope we have picked some that people actually want and need! If not, our delivery service will be moving lots of material between locations, so let us know if you have any requests.
There is no way I can thank all the people who have helped us make this possible—from departments here on Ambler’s campus to so many departments and people from Charles Library who have come up with ways and means to make this move and this library happen. So, a simple thank you to everyone for your support and help in this situation. See you in the library!