Volunteers form human chains to carry documents, artefacts and books from the basement of the Jagger Library after most of the building was destroyed in a fire. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency (ANA)
Volunteers form human chains to carry documents, artefacts and books from the basement of the Jagger Library after most of the building was destroyed in a fire. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency (ANA)

Progress in restoring UCT Jagger Library

By Nathan Adams Time of article published Jun 9, 2021

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Volunteers form human chains to carry documents, artefacts and books from the basement of the Jagger Library after most of the building was destroyed in a fire. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency (ANA)

Cape Town - UCT has made steady progress in trying to salvage and restore the Jagger Library archive.

The building and library archive at the UCT upper campus was badly damaged by a wildfire on April 18.

Volunteers and staff immediately assessed the damage, salvage and restore what remained after the blaze.

In a notice to staff and colleagues UCT Vice-Chancellor Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng said: “I’m happy to report positive progress in the hard work that so many people have put into recovering the archives from the Jagger basements, led by the skilful UCT Libraries team. The first steps of this process have been documented in a series of striking photographs taken by colleagues in the Communication and Marketing Department.”

Librarian Bev Angus try to salvage what she can in the basement after it was flooded during the fire. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency(ANA)

A breakdown was also provided of the key points in the restoration so far. UCT confirmed that 10 000 items are in cold storage as part of the rehabilitation process for water-damaged materials and 12 900 crates were filled with materials to minimise handling during their removal from the basements.

Two thousand volunteers had helped throughout the salvage project and it took the team 17 days to remove the materials from the Jagger Library basements.

The restoration work continues while the UCT Special Collections team have relocated to temporary premises in Mowbray.

Weekend Argus

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