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"Things are definitely looking up" - Update on UCT's Jagger Library salvage op

2 June 2021 5:28 PM
Tags:
UCT fire
Jagger reading Room
Jagger Library
UCT salvage operation

Afternoon Drive host John Maytham chats to UCT's Executive Director of Libraries, Ujala Satgoor, about the Jagger Library salvage project.
  • UCT's head of libraries, Ujala Satgoor, says the Jagger Reading Room has been cleared out
  • Salvaging the archive material is only the first phase of the recovery plan, which is expected to be a costly exercise
  • The aim is to 'rehabilitate' as many library materials as possible through various methods of preservation

Ujala Satgoor, the head of UCT Libraries says approximately 75% of the archival materials salvaged from the Jagger Reading Room are "hugely recoverable" while the other 25% will need extra work and treatment.

Volunteers, staff, and students have been working on an ongoing salvage operation at the Jagger Reading Room, which was severely damaged by wildfires in April.

Satgoor says it took 17 days to clear out archival materials housed within the Jagger Reading Room basements.

The university's officials have been using a triage tent that was erected on campus to process the materials and assess the extent of the damages thereof.

RELATED: UCT volunteers rally to call and move thousands of salvaged library materials

We manage to take out most of the things and those that we left we knew we couldn't salvage but we know there's a digitised format thereof.

Ujala Satgoor, Executive Director of Libraries - University of Cape Town

We cleared out the building, if anybody were to visit now there's a stillness to it, there's an emptiness to it. It's like the calm after the storm.

Ujala Satgoor, Executive Director of Libraries - University of Cape Town

UCT has had to consult various experts on how to salvage valuable academic resources, such as antiquarian materials and audio-visual collections.

Some materials have been placed in cold storage containers or drying chambers which have been brought on site.

Satgoor adds that the library's map cabinets will be relocated to new interim premises that UCT has leased for two years.

Lots of materials have now been put up on shelves that are dry so they continue being dried through a natural ventilation process.

Ujala Satgoor, Executive Director of Libraries - University of Cape Town

We are still continuing some dehumidifying and a lot of materials are now in cold storage and that will be worked on on an ongoing basis as well.

Ujala Satgoor, Executive Director of Libraries - University of Cape Town

We've experienced quite a bit of progress. I must say, hats off to all the volunteers that made it possible.

Ujala Satgoor, Executive Director of Libraries - University of Cape Town



2 June 2021 5:28 PM
Tags:
UCT fire
Jagger reading Room
Jagger Library
UCT salvage operation

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