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W.E.B. Du Bois Library

The University of Massachusetts Amherst is home to three distinguished libraries, which include the Music Reserve Lab and the Science and Engineering Library. However, the best known is the W.E.B. Du Bois Library, a 26-story structure that is the tallest library in the U.S.

Within two months of its opening, the building began shedding brick chips, a phenomenon known as spalling. There are various urban legends that persist about its causes, the most popular of which is that the architect who designed the building failed to take into account the weight of the books to be housed inside it.

While no official cause of the spalling was given, 60,000 books had to be moved out of the building. It was later discovered the building was sinking into the pond-saturated ground on which it was built. However, YouMass, a helpful guide to life on the UMass Amherst campus, says this claim is overblown and describes the degree to which the building is sinking as “not so much.”

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