Update on Collections at C.V. Starr East Asian Library 1/18/2019

Dear Faculty and Students in East Asian Studies:

As I reported to you earlier, the C.V. Starr East Asian Library experienced a water leak in the stacks in the early morning of Sunday, September 16. Over the course of the four days that followed, over 100 volunteers from across CUL Libraries and University Facilities joined the staff of the Starr Library and Preservation & Digital Conversion Division to immediately remove over 51,000 wet volumes in over 3,900 boxes to our disaster recovery contractor for treatment. The timely manner in which all of this assistance was offered to Starr, as well as the capacity that so many volunteers provided, ensured that permanent damage to the collections was minimal.

Our contractor, Polygon, has been freeze-drying, dehumidifying, and cleaning the volumes we sent at their preservation facility in Pennsylvania. Meanwhile, in Starr, University Facilities and other contractors had been busy repairing and cleaning the four affected floors of the stacks, and completed their work in the end of December 2018. We have now begun the final process of returning the affected volumes back to their home in Starr. We are working toward a goal of receiving all treated materials and reopening our stacks in the end of March, 2019.  Before reopening our stacks, we will continue to provide the following services:

The main reading room in Starr remains open, as do all reference, consultation, and Interlibrary loan services. However, all stacks areas will remain closed for several weeks. Please check our library blog (https://blogs.cul.columbia.edu/starr/) regularly, where we will post updates on progress, specific timelines as they become better known, and any other information affecting the use of library spaces and collections.

Starr has implemented paging services that will allow users to request items currently in the stacks. These services will remain in effect until the stacks can be reopened to Library users. Paging will be performed according to the following regular schedule:

  • Requests received by 11am (Monday-Friday) will be available at the circulation desk by 1pm
  • Requests received by 6pm (Sunday-Thursday) will be available at the circulation desk by 8pm
  • Requests received by 10pm (Monday-Thursday) will be available at the circulation desk the next day at 10am
  • Requests received by 2pm (Saturday and Sunday) will be available at the circulation desk by 4pm

For items that remain in the stacks: records are marked in CLIO with the alert “Please contact Starr East Asian Library staff for assistance in paging this item.” Requests to have these items paged from the stacks can be submitted as follows: in the CLIO record for the item, go to the ‘Requests’ tab above the CLIO record, and select “Item not on shelf?” (see image below):

 CLIO paging image w highlighting.jpg

For items that were removed from Starr for treatment: records are marked in CLIO with the alert “Temporarily unavailable. Try ILL.” These items may still be available through our BorrowDirect and Interlibrary Loan partners, and Starr library circulation desk staff will assist faculty and students in locating and requesting such items.

CLIO ILL image w highlighting.jpg

Thank you for your patience and cooperation as we work with University Facilities to ensure that the affected spaces are clean and safe for faculty and student to once again access and use.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me directly, or email starr@library.columbia.edu, and we will respond as soon as possible.


Jim Cheng

Director, C.V. Starr East Asian Library

Columbia University

Email: jc3685@columbia.edu

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