The UWA EDFAA Rises From The Flood (Warning – Contains Library Porn)

I’m typing from the silent study / teaching room at the EDFAA library at UWA.

Honestly, I am! I can’t believe it myself.

I stood in line for about five minutes, hoping to talk to one of the librarians, just to say “WAHHHHH!!! YOU’RE BACK!!”

Then I realised that she was wrestling with a student’s library print token (it’s been run over by a Large Hadron Collider, I think) that was screwing up her card-reader and thought that I’d go write this blogpost and go back for a quote when things are quieter.

Why am I so excited? This is what it was like, nearly two years ago : The Storm That Destroyed The Library At UWA – 22nd March 2010 was the blog-post I wrote then -more photos of the damage are here, thanks to UWA Library.

This photo is by a fellow student -  it shows the glass walls that crashed through (here’s just before they broke!) with flooding from broken pipes and the hailstorm. It destroyed the books, computers, carpets, offices; essentially took out the entire floor and left it filled with silt, mould, broken furnishings and a lot of very, very miserable librarians and some devastated students (like myself). There’s another photo here, showing a slightly different angle.

Those books you can see on the shelves in the picture? They were the shelves on Education. I was about 80% near completion of my thesis and I would sit by these windows, typing. You can probably see a chair upside down in the water?

Here’s video from that time – from outside the building, looking down onto the glass wall:

From a classroom above the glass wall:

From the West Australian newspaper report on the damage:

Further north, a wave of water and sand inundated the Education, Fine Arts and Architecture Library. Professor Helen Wildy, dean of the faculty of education, was in the library when the chaos erupted and moved quickly to evacuate all students.

“It was this tidal wave of water that just gushed over the edge,” she said. “Every time a car went by another wave came down and it was all just gushing into the library. It was up to knee height.”

Landscape architectural student Michael Hart, 24, was studying on the fourth floor of the library when the building was hit. “All of a sudden we saw the pelting of the hail hitting the windows . . . it was kind of surreal,” he said. “In the hallway at the emergency exit there was a window open and there was hail shooting through hitting big glass panels and the glass was flexing, kind of bowing from the wind.”

Mr Robson said the university was in the eye of the storm and the damage bill was likely to be in “the tens of millions of dollars”.

It’s taken two years. I’m now in the area which was once Architecture and a bit of the storage area. I’ve also taken some photos so you can compare how the library has changed.

Firstly – the entryway has gone. You used to walk down the stairs to go into the library, from the inside of the EDFAA building? It’s now a glass ceiling, hanging over a tiny lecture-study area and the compactus:

These are hard-working students who were kind enough not to glare at me as I used my phone-camera. Respect.

That’s the new glass wall to the right. Revitalised and with tiers, with a new staircase  to allow entry to the library (with some scaffolding and a builder doing a bit of cleaning of the right of that, as you can see). It was here that a pipe burst and flooded into the library, crashing through that glass wall and into the shelves. Where I’m standing to take this photo is where the shelves once were. In fact, you can see the builder cleaning where the pipes once burst. That all used to be leafy greenery and he’s standing where some fire-escape stairs used to be (as in the flood photo).

 

The shelves are gone, replaced by computers and the space where the compactus used to be is now a Reserve Reading area (behind those students walking in). The new Inquiries desk is to the far right, just out of the photo.

Here’s where I’m typing from – you can see what used to be the Architecture books, but now they’re Education (and a LOT of them are gone – the section on Philosophy and Education? I found three books. THREE. There used to be a pile on Lipmann and Sharp, I recall!)

 

 Nice teaching room with lots of computers and a lectern and a powerpoint wall. And they have comfy chairs to perch on with your quarto-size Art books, outside next to the shelves. This section is probably the only thing that looks familiar from two years ago.

Finally, here’s the wall that used to be windows, next to what was Architecture and Art (now Education) books:

There’s builders in the far left of the photo, but they were bending over and I didn’t want to be vulgar.

Sandstone steps are now outside that glass wall and you can see another comfy lounge-chair thing. I’ve got my back against the computer teaching room wall. And I’ve just noticed that there’s a sign on the classroom door saying that in exactly ten minutes someone is going to hold a class in here, so I’m going to go tell the librarian at the entryway that I’m so happy that they’re back and head back home to get some real work done.

About Kylie Sturgess

Kylie Sturgess is a Philosophy teacher, media and psychology student, blogger at Patheos and podcaster at Token Skeptic. She has conducted over a hundred interviews including artists, scientists, politicians and activists, worldwide.
She’s the author of the ‘Curiouser and Curiouser‘ column at the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry website and travels internationally lecturing on feminism, skepticism, and science.

  • Aliasalpha

    Oddly enough, that first photo actually looks really pretty if you can ignore the fact that its destroying the place. Something that looked similar but was a controlled water feature would be pretty cool in a library. It’d also be a neat way of giving the flood the finger

    • Kylie Sturgess

      They’re having an official “re-opening” on the 23rd… maybe they have something planned like that?

  • Fat_Az

    So glad to see it getting back to it’s former glory (sadly missing many of the books of course).

    Remember many long hours spent preparing geological reports there, to earn some money, while I was supposed to be studying for a chemistry degree. Suppose all those old geology texts are gone as well now. Bugger.


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