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Library Responds Quickly to Leaking Roof

workeers covering book shelves

Workers covering book shelves

Photo: Lee Burnett

By Lee Burnett, Submissions Editor

Goodall Library plans to fully reopen Monday, a week after hundreds of books were ruined by rain that leaked around a clogged roof drain.

The library’s reopening will be quicker than expected. Initially, librarians had feared subsequent rainstorms would send more water dripping through the ceiling at its temporary location at The Center for Shopping. But within a day, a maintenance worker had unclogged a roof drain, an electrician had secured the electrical system, and SERVPRO, the water and fire cleanup company, had deployed five dehumidifiers and 10 blowers to dry things out.

“It was getting pretty loud,” Head Librarian Ann Thomas said with a laugh. With the outlook brightening by Tuesday afternoon, Thomas said the library would offer front door service Thursday and Friday for people needing to return books or pick up books ordered through inter-library loan. Full service will resume Monday.

The damage was discovered Sunday morning when Thomas checked on things following the ice storm. It was not a huge surprise, as the roof had already leaked several times since last October when the library reopened in rental space while renovations continue at its home on Main Street. Thomas quickly discovered sagging ceiling tiles, sopping wet carpet and water dripping onto books. Some ceiling tiles were smashed on the floor. Others bore brown stains. The power was out, so she used her cellphone flashlight to explore the recesses of the back rooms.

“I heard water leaking everywhere,” said Thomas. It was especially pronounced in a rear storage room. “It was like a waterfall, when you’re hiking and you hear running water. It seemed like it was coming down inside (the walls). We couldn’t see it, only hear it.”

The staff quickly shifted into salvage mode. Damaged books were stacked in bins, ready for disposal. Other books were reshelved away from danger. Springvale Library had planned to extend an offer to allow patrons to return books to their building, but the recovery was so quick that it wasn’t necessary.

Thomas said the books are insured and she is negotiating with building owner WRE Brokers about covering the cleanup costs. The Sanford Springvale News left two telephone messages for landlord Jay Wise but did not get a call back.

It was an eventful introduction to Sanford for Thomas, who started her new job on February 20. The 23-year library veteran seemed to take it in stride. “I’ve dealt with a lot of things, there is always something,” she said.

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