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The library repairs water damage and looks to the future

September 18, 2019

The HEC Montréal library is undergoing repair and renovation work. Part of the renewal was necessitated by a broken water pipe in the Côte-Ste-Catherine building on April 16 of this year. The library facilities were damaged and thousands of books were saved at the last minute.


Dismantling of book shelving in July 2019.

Dismantling without waste

The first part of the work, consisting of dismantling book shelving in the damaged section, was completed this past summer.

The shelving that was removed will not be reinstalled, however. It has all been redistributed throughout the Quebec school and library systems. Ten organizations and educational institutions were delighted to take the shelving, in particular Université Laval, which received over half of the 320 shelving sections on offer.

“This is in line with promoting the circular economy, an approach in which the School is leading the way,” explains Jean-Michel Champagne, Sustainable Development Coordinator in the Infrastructure Office. “The best option for our surplus property remains reuse on site. But when that isn’t possible, before we send it off as scrap metal or recycling, we try to redistribute, sell or donate it.”

 

Less shelving, more working space

Since these repairs had to be done in any case, the library authorities took the opportunity to build new working spaces in order to better serve the needs of the HEC Montréal community. The library is getting particularly heavy use by students as exams approach, and working space is becoming more and more limited.

The dismantled shelving will now be replaced with long white tables. This section, similar to one on the other side of the library, will have space for 96 users, and will be completed by November.

Smaller, temporary tables and carrels will also be added in the central part of the library, to restore the capacity of nearly 800 users, as it was before the water damage.

 

Books in storage

The books saved after the accident, representing two thirds of the library’s collection, have been temporarily stored in special boxes in the two study rooms at the north end of the library and are accessible by asking the library staff.

In the longer term, these books will be stored in a permanent location to be determined. This part of the collection will remain accessible upon reservation.

“We have to take current trends into account,” says Library Director Bernard Bizimana. “The digital environment means that more and more of our collections are in digital form. It’s an opportunity to make more room for students.”


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