Richter Library floods

The Otto G. Richter Library closed early Sunday evening as a result of a flood on the second floor.

The flood was caused by a broken pipe on the flush-o-meter, a standard part on a toilet built for commercial use, in the men’s restroom on the second floor of the library

“We believe that someone may have kicked it,” Bill Walker, university librarian, said.

According to Walker, who was doing some work in the library at the time, the flooding began just before 5 p.m.

“The water gushed and filled the bathroom almost instantly,” Walker said. “It quickly flooded the second floor from wall to wall.”

The library staff responded to the emergency by calling the facilities department. A team from facilities stopped the influx by turning off the water.

The water then began to seep into the seams of the ceiling of the first floor, causing the tiles to become wet and fall.

Students were asked to leave the library for safety reasons. The library remained closed until Monday morning when portions of the building were open for student use.

A team contracted for emergencies, Belfor, responded to the situation.

“Even on Super Bowl Sunday, they were here by 10:00 with 70 fans to help dry the carpets,” Walker said.

Other damages included damp insulation, which is being replaced to prevent mildew, and some computers on the first floor.

“We moved as many computers as possible,” Walker said. “About 20 of them were filled with water.”

Currently, the library only has 25 working computers for students to use. Replacement computers were immediately ordered.

“We asked students not to come in and use the computers for Facebook, but to use them for work,” Walker said. “Everyone was really great.”

Some students were upset by the lack of computers and many were perplexed.

“It sucks right now because there is such a shortage of computers,” sophomore Pamela Jackson said. “I tried to use one, but it isn’t going to happen.”

None of the collections held in the library were damaged during the flood.

Walker estimates damages at $100,000, but this amount could not be confirmed with facilities.

According to Walker, the library should be back to its original state by Monday.

Stacey Arnold can be contacted at