See All Topics

Home / Section: Graphic Novels

Irene floods CCS’ Schulz Library; potentially lost (UPDATED)

Tom Spurgeon reports that Center For Cartoon Studies Director James Sturm and several students made a middle of the night heroic effort to move about 70 percent of the print material from the Schulz Library that lies near the White River. The river is threatening to flood due to Hurricane Irene. The other material was moved to higher shelves.

Sturm indicates that despite the harrowing night, the volunteers were largely successful. “Trees, huge freight containers smacking into bridge a few feet away as we worked. Got maybe 70 percent of the stuff out of there, rest moved to higher shelves. [We’ll] know more tomorrow [about the] fate of rest of collection.” Sturm indicated that the building itself might be a loss. “Probably won’t be able to move back into that wonderful space (the old firehouse). The Schulz Library shares the building with The Main Street Museum, a one-of-a-kind place. It would be awful if that amazing institution went under.”

UPDATE: The CCS has posted photos on their Flickr account of the flood waters. Look for the photos that show the water level against the building.

Community Comments

#1 Eric Bustad
August/29/2011
@ 10:06 am

Why are so many museums located in flood zones?

#2 Daniel Boris
August/29/2011
@ 11:38 am

Yeah! And who put Earth so close to the Sun? That sucker?s gonna EXPLODE someday!

#3 Dave Stephens
August/29/2011
@ 11:40 am

They surely saw this coming a WEEK ahead… And their reasons for waiting til the LAST SECOND are…?

#4 Jeff Pert
August/29/2011
@ 12:03 pm

Their reasons waiting for the last second are Vermont traditionally only has flooding in the spring from mountain snow melt. They weren’t aware that as the storm got further north, the circumference of rain was going to expand. All of the hurricanes in the last 230-odd years have clung to the coastline, which Vermont is nowhere near.

I love it when people who have no experience of the situation dump on the people who do.

#5 Jeff Pert
August/29/2011
@ 12:04 pm

That should read 30, not 230.

#6 Dave Stephens
August/29/2011
@ 12:30 pm

I will always “dump” on people who don’t watch the tv or read the newspapers or listen to radio when a disaster is headed right for them…

It doesn’t take experience of any sort to understand the definition of the word, “Flood,” now does it?

If they have any sort of an excuse, you have yet not given one for them.

#7 Rich Diesslin
August/29/2011
@ 12:38 pm

Jeff, I’m glad the efforts went well for those involved, but I think Dave’s comment was a fair question. the weather channel’s 5ish different forecast models all predicted the rain and flooding pretty accurately and well in advance. However, there is always that “it won’t be that bad” mentality which a lot of us have in those situations. I can see both sides of it. Why move it unless you believe the predictions … but the problem is once you know it’s going to happen it’s often too late.

I went to assist with Katrina about a week after that one, and many folks also didn’t believe the predictions because they had many false alarms before. A few of them were luck to be alive after it.

#8 Dan Olson
August/29/2011
@ 2:42 pm

@DANIEL BORIS, Yeah but that’s the 5 billion year forecast and you know how inaccurate they are.

#9 Darryl Heine
August/29/2011
@ 4:17 pm

The Schulz library has nothing to do with Charles Schulz of Peanuts fame (and the Charles M. Schulz Museum is located in Santa Rosa, California for real!).

#10 Dave Stephens
August/29/2011
@ 6:21 pm

True – it’s not priceless Charles Schulz’s material that was partially saved, it was a tremendous collection of other gag strip books, cartoon books and magazines and mini-comics – an awesome library for cartoon research named after the esteemed Mr. Schulz but not related to the Schulz Museum.

#11 Mike Peterson
August/30/2011
@ 2:54 am

Let’s take this “Don’t just stand there — Do something!” theory of preservation a bit further — Where would you put all this material every time the weatherman predicted rain?

How about in a building that has weathered many storms and floods over the past century or so? What? That’s where they are now? Well, for god’s sake, move them!

And, no, the library has nothing at all to do with Charles Schulz. As far as I know, it’s named for some guy in California whose widow donated a bunch of money for it. I think he owned an ice skating rink where, every time they predicted a brush fires in the foothills around Santa Rosa, they’d take up the ice and move it to a repository in Alaska.

#12 Dave Stephens
August/30/2011
@ 3:09 am

The weatherman did NOT predict rain. He predicted major flooding. When major flooding is headed for you, you only move what you want to keep and what you want to give to the river, you leave…

#13 Mike Peterson
August/30/2011
@ 9:09 am

Dave, I live here. I know what the weatherman predicted, and we did take it seriously.

And given what the weatherman predicted, being ready to head down there at night when the river actually began to rise seems to me an eminently practical plan. The river began to rise, they rallied the gang, they got the stuff out in plenty of time.

I base this on what people who live there told me they saw going on at the museum that evening. Me, I was all the way over in New Hampshire on the far side of the river. If you could see better from where you were sitting, I’ll defer to your knowledge of the situation.

#14 Dave Stephens
August/30/2011
@ 1:21 pm

When you take things seriously, you wait til the last second, do I have that correct? I mean, you actually live there so I’ll take you at your word. Sounds kinda nuts to me, but hey, I live here in San Diego far from hurricanes and such, so what do I know?

Obviously, my mistake was assuming they’d do something at least a day ahead. My bad.

Sarcasm aside, I am genuinely glad they got the stuff out of harms way and put the remaining stuff high on the shelves – they’ve got a massive collection of cartoon material and it’s accessible to their students and that is really an awesome positive thing for learning.

#15 Mike Peterson
August/30/2011
@ 5:13 pm

Dave, you are being grossly unfair to the CCS people. Maybe that’s your intention, in which case, nothing I can say will make a difference.

But you are wrong — dead wrong — about how things work here. A few points, which you don’t have to believe if you are determined not to give these people a break:

1. You have seriously misrepresented the level of warning given. Evacuation notices only came out at roughly the same time they were moving things out of the library.

2. Yes, we knew the rivers were going to rise. As noted in an early post, they rise every spring. You act as if “flood warnings” were supposed to trigger some frenetic response. The building in which the library is housed has been there for well over a century and the river has flooded many, many times during the life of that building, and yet there it is. Trusting the building was a proven concept.

3. Despite your instance that the forecasts were accurate, they weren’t. The hurricane went to the west, which did significant damage to the state of New York, well west of the projected path. It also added significant rainfall to the White River watershed. The White River, I’m sure all Californians know, is a flash river. In other words, what happened was worse than what was projected.

4. The common sense response is to keep an eye on the situation and to take the right steps at the right time. Much as you wish everyone had gone into a tizzy and moved the entire library in case it rained, they acted sensibly.

5. They didn’t even have to do that. I drove by about two hours ago (Did you?). The watermark is below the library. In other words, had they done NOTHING, the collection would have survived, despite the geniuses in whom you are so heavily invested.

6. We take flood warnings seriously. We do not add to them by pissing ourselves. Perhaps California is different, but, then, why doesn’t it put out the brush fires?

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.