Pete Smith passed along a note received Thursday from Amanda Harvey, Assistant Library Manager at the American Numismatic Association:
This is an automated message designed to let you know that the ANA
Library is closed because of a water pipe burst. I will respond to
your request as soon as I am able.
The Dwight N. Manley Numismatic Library is billed as the largest circulating numismatic library in the world, and is one of the leading repositories of numismatic literature in the U.S. Water damage is a bibliophile's nightmare, so on Friday I called Library Director Ryanne Scott to learn what happened.
First, the good news: it seems that the damage was light and limited to duplicates and easily replaceable items. Here's what happened. The burst pipe was part of the building's boiler system. Ironically, the system had been scheduled for regular maintenance just days before, but the work had to be postponed because of the cold winter weather brought by the nationwide storm system. The ANA had actually been closed for two days because of the weather. Had the pipe burst when the building was unoccupied, the damage would have been far worse.
The pipe was in the basement, near where the library's periodicals are shelved. A staffer went down to the basement to get something to fill a member's library order and heard the rushing water just as the pipe burst. Facilities Manager Gerry Vanderfin was able to shut off the flow within two minutes.
Library staff is currently inventorying the damage in order to file an insurance claim. The largest item damaged was a set of the ANA's own publication The Numismatist. This was not the library's only set - it was a 3rd duplicate copy.
Numismatists everywhere can breathe a sigh of relief - thanks to some good fortune and the quick work of ANA staff the damage was limited, and hopefully with insurance proceeds the damaged works will ultimately be replaced.
Wayne Homren, Editor
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