In the past three weeks, following extensive inspections of the electrical system, large parts of the building were disconnected from the power supply to eliminate an increased hazard potential for life and limb of both visitors and employees of the library as well as for the irreplaceable items stored in it.
The reason for the inspections was a smoldering fire that occurred in the entrance area on the evening of August 18: A defective rotary switch in the outdated fuse panel for the entrance area’s ceiling lighting triggered a cable fire. The incipient smoldering fire could be stopped in time before the building was closed by interrupting the power supply via a higher-level distributor which was no longer possible with the already overheated fuse panel in the entrance area.
The investigations showed that other identical distribution boards, which therefore pose a fire hazard as well, are still in operation. As a result, all electrical sub-distributors that have been in operation since the construction of the library building in 1961 were switched off completely. This eliminated the hazard in the building. However, the disconnection of the electrical distribution boards has left the building with only about one-third of the power needed. Currently, a construction power supply is being installed for the most important areas. A construction power supply for the whole building cannot be established in a timely manner with justifiable constructional and financial effort.
In order to restore the library building, the University Building Authority Stuttgart and Hohenheim is currently working on the overall planning for a general renovation. At the moment, the University Building Authority is expecting a lead time of at least two to three years to secure financing, find and rent temporary quarters, obtain the necessary building and historic preservation permits, and carry out preliminary planning work.
This means that library visitors will not be able to use large areas of the library building until the general renovation starts. When and to what extent the University Library will be able to offer its usual services again depends on further developments and cannot be predicted at this particular time.
We regret the circumstances and ask for your understanding for the – also for us – not easy current situation.