'The Tale of Hale' highlights ups and downs of Hale Library history

AJ Dome, The Manhattan Mercury, Kan.
·4 min read

Apr. 16—K-State spotlighted the history of Hale Library during a special virtual program Thursday.

"The Tale of Hale: A Storytelling and Ribbon-Cutting Celebration" streamed on YouTube for an audience of more than 700 people who RSVP'd for the event. The program, acting as a virtual reopening of the library, featured several university administrators, faculty members, students and financial supporters narrating portions of the book "The Tale of Hale," which chronicles the history of the library building.

"We're celebrating a monumental moment in the history of Hale Library, as we officially reopen our campus icon to the community," Goetsch said in the program.

Hale Library had been closed for renovations since May 2018, when a fire broke out on the roof of the building and led to smoke and water damage through 85% of the library. Earlier this year, the staff that oversees Special Collections and University Archives started bringing those collections back to the library, out from safe storage in caves near Kansas City. All five floors of the library are now open, and university archivists said it was fortunate that none of the special collections were damaged by the fire.

The Mercury reported in May of last year the university's insurance company claim was $89.5 million. The university received more than $6 million in private donations to repair Hale Library, while K-State paid a $500,000 deductible on the claim. The original roofing replacement project was slated to cost $774,000.

Myers started the program on the first chapter of the book, which details the library's beginnings in 1927, and how more space was needed for growing collections and study areas. The university initially named the library after K-State's eighth president, Francis David Farrell, but later renamed it to Hale Library in October 1997 to honor Joe and Joyce Hale — private benefactors who, after being impressed by KSU students' commitment to raising $5 million for library expansion, contributed $5 million of their own money.

"We acknowledge the importance of the original library and its namesake," Myers said. "The 1927 structure retains the designation of 'Historic Farrell Library.'"

Reading from the book, Myers said Hale Library "quickly became the heart and soul of our university, where academics, student life, research, and social interaction all converged."

The second chapter, read by Dave and Ellie Everitt, delves into the library's renovation projects, starting in 2016 with the idea to modernize the first floor.

"After touring the library with Dean Lori Goetsch, and seeing the concept plans for the renovated building, we were inspired to lead efforts that would evolve Hale Library as a vital place for the next generation of learning," Dave Everitt said.

The third chapter details the May 22, 2018 fire. Amy Rosine, associate professor of voice and vocal techniques in the School of Music, Theatre, and Dance, narrated the section about the fire and the damage it caused.

"In true K-State fashion, K-State Libraries administrators were launching a recovery process while still taking in the damage," Rosine said. "Soaked books were frozen in an effort to further stop damage and prevent mold growth, damaged ceilings and carpet were removed, walls were demolished, and library services were relocated and made operational."

Greg Willems, CEO of the KSU Foundation, read from the fourth chapter of "The Tale of Hale."

"What could have been a devastating moment for the library's history was not an option for the K-State family," Willems said.

The fourth chapter details the launch of the Help for Hale initiative, intended to restore essential library resources. More than $330,000 was raised through this campaign to aid in library restoration.

"Thanks to this extraordinary generosity, we could reimagine Hale Library like never before," Willems said.

Chapter 5 of the book, narrated by KSU Provost Chuck Taber, delved into how KSU library faculty and staff came together while their building was looking the worse for wear. Library personnel worked out of temporary spaces throughout campus and collaborated with other faculty members around the university more closely.

Library student ambassadors narrated Chapter 6 of the book, which focused on the recent reopening of all floors of the library, the addition of quiet study spaces, and the Sunderland Foundation Innovation Lab.

"Hale Library has been restored as the heart of campus, offering students and the K-State Community a place to study, learn, and collaborate," said Cassie Wefald, library student ambassador and granddaughter of former K-State president Jon Wefald.

To complete the program, Goetsch read from the final chapter of the book, titled "To Be Continued."

"Unlike a traditional story book, The Tale of Hale has no end," Goetsch said.