This small collection of photos in the LIFE Archives show the sheer awesomeness of librarians who tried their best to save the books that were drenched following a building fire...
Pictured in 1951 drying out state library books damaged by fighting the Lewis Cass State Office Building fire in Lansing
The fire was started by a 19 year-old Naval Reservist who feared being sent to war in Korea and thought that “a little fire” would gain him the probationary status he wanted.
The 1951 disaster destroyed much State property, including some government records. The fire proved an object lesson on the importance of record keeping. Many documents were unrecoverable as proper inventories didn’t exist.