The Waterville Public Library closed on Monday, December 19, 2016 due to water damage caused by a burst pipe. The Library plans to reopen at 10a on Tuesday, December 20, 2016.
When Library staff reported for scheduled shifts at 9:15am on Saturday, December 17, 2016, staff members discovered that the floors of the lobby, Children's Stacks, and the staff workroom were covered in standing water. A pipe in the ceiling of the staff workroom was leaking. The fire alarm was also going off.
Library staff notified the Library Custodian, Robert Madore, and Library Director, Sarah Sugden. A staff member was instructed by Madore to shut off the Library's main water line, which would stop the leak. This was done. Madore contacted Houle's and requested emergency service. The Library closed to the public for the day; notification was posted online and at the Library's entrance.
Emergency responders from Waterville Fire - Rescue arrived in response to the fire alarm. Words fail to express the Library's gratitude to these individuals. Their professional, expert, compassionate assistance made all of the difference for the Library. Wtvl firefighters turned their efforts to clean-up and used their equipment to remove standing water and debris caused by the leak. The location of the leak in the pipe caused the water to damage ceiling tiles, shelving, flooring, furnishings, computer/technological equipment, as well as portions of the Children's nonfiction collection, specifically in the natural history and science collections.
While firefighters removed water and cleaned up debris caused by the leak, Library staff implemented the Library's procedure for water damage and emergency situations. Upon the recommendation of Waterville Fire Captain Esler, Library staff also contacted Advanced 1 Cleaning for emergency service in order to ensure that mold not occur as the result of water damage.
Library staff removed, inventoried, and assessed for damage all books on the shelves in the water impact zone. Books beyond repair were isolated. Titles with repairable water damage were relocated to an onsite trailer provided by Advanced 1, who will be securing an estimate for the repair and preservation of the damaged books. It is hoped that the majority of these books will be recoverable. Library staff will complete the inventory process on Monday and will be able to provide firm numbers of Library books impacted by water damage.
All computer and technological equipment damaged by the water was also inventoried and removed from the area by Library staff. This equipment, regrettably, is non-repairable.
A service technician from Houle's arrived as soon as he could and speedily and expertly repaired the broken water pipe (used by the exterior spigot on the northeast corner of the 1976 addition). Advanced 1 staff provided additional cleaning and water removal in impacted areas. Blowers and dehumidifiers were located in the impacted regions to assist with the drying process.
The Library will be closed to the public on Monday, December 19, 2016. Staff and volunteers will continue to inventory damaged books, Library equipment, and furniture. Advanced 1 will resume cleaning efforts. Carpets and flooring in impacted areas will be assessed for damage and safety. Library staff will be consulting with City of Waterville representatives regarding damage costs and such. The City of Waterville has owned the Library building since 1905 and carries the insurance for the building and its contents.
The area of the Library building in which the leak occurred was built in 1976, as an addition on the 1905 library building. A burst pipe in late fall of this year revealed that the insulation used in 1976 was foam insulation attached to the inside of the exterior wall. After forty years, this insulation has failed.
Upon discovery of the insulation issue, Library staff consulted with City representatives to identify a solution for this problem. It was determined that the solution would be to remove the northeast interior wall of the staff workroom and apply additional insulation, particularly around all pipes. New sheetrock would then be hung, taped, mudded, and painted. The City representative proposed that this work be completed by staff of Waterville Public Works, as the staff has the expertise and experience to execute this project. A work order for this project was submitted to Public Works. While the Library insulation project is in the queue for completion, our Public Works crew manages a tremendous number of demands and projects during this time of the year.
Everyone at the Library is grateful for the support and assistance of the Waterville Fire Department, as well as local businesses Houle's and Advanced 1 Cleaning. We are also buoyed and heartened by the support and love shown by our community. Thank you.
Some of you have asked how you can help your Library.
Thank you for these offers of support and sympathy. The Library is really lucky that insurance will cover some of the damage and repair. However, we don’t know yet how much of the damage will be covered by insurance. We are particularly concerned about the loss of our Children’s science/technology and natural history/wildlife books. These are some of the most popular and heavily-used materials in our Children’s nonfiction collection. Restoring this collection to meet the interests and needs of Waterville’s children is a priority for the Library.
How can you help?
Please keep those sentiments of support and love coming our way! Your encouragement and kindness are so appreciated and make such a difference.
If you are inspired and able, please consider donating a gift of cash to the Library to help us restore our Children’s nonfiction collection and cover costs of repair not covered by insurance. Donations can be dropped off at the Library or mailed to Waterville Public Library c/o RESTORE THE LIBRARY, 73 Elm Street, Waterville, ME 04901. Donations can also be made online by clicking on the Donate button on the Waterville Public Library web site: www.watervillelibrary.org.
We can't wait to reopen on Tuesday morning; thank you for your patience and understanding.