South Country Library reopens after flood
Above and above right: A pipe burst caused extensive damage in the children’s department of the South Country Library last week.

Courtesy photo

South Country Library reopens after flood



On Jan. 8, South Country Library officials discovered a flood in the children’s department of the library that forced the library to close for several days. The library reopened Jan. 11, but the children’s department remains closed to the public indefinitely as the library works with its trustees, insurance company, plumbers and other contractors to begin getting back on its feet.

According to assistant director Patrick O’Leary, the damage was discovered after the snowstorm and extreme cold snap earlier this month, but he said the issue is believed to have stemmed from a sprinkler head in the attic above the children’s room. He said the cause is still under investigation.

The most extensive damage, he said, is to the building structures and items directly below the falling water, including the ceiling tiles, drop ceiling grid, toys, furniture and several media including books, DVDs and CDs. “It seems that even the books that were quite far from the flood still received moisture damage absorbed from the saturated air.  The entire materials collection in the room is being assessed to see which items, if any, can be salvaged and put back into circulation for the public,” he said.

As the damage is assessed and cleanup continues, the children’s department has set up shop in the large-print room, located in the front portion of the building. “Library staff have exhibited tremendous teamwork and support in getting the large-print room hollowed out and working with them to get their essential equipment and furniture set up,” O’Leary said, adding that a handful of books were brought over since they are still assessing the damage.

Community support, he said, has been tremendous. “We are extraordinarily grateful to the community for their outpouring of support on social media, in phone calls to the library and in requests to volunteer and to donate books to the children’s department.  If and when we can use any manner of help from the community, we will reach out through our website and social media and we know that the response will be terrific, as always,” he said in an email.

He was unsure when the children’s department would be open again. In the meantime, however, children’s room “regulars” are invited to say hello and see the staff in their temporary location.