This blog reports events and interesting tidbits from Rensselaer, Indiana and the surrounding area.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Library update (updated)

I was planning to go to the city council meeting on Monday evening, but after my post on the Library and their flooding problems, I got a message on Facebook; "If you want to check out the inside of the library you should go to their board meeting Monday." I thought about it and decided, after noting that the dumpster outside the library was full Monday afternoon, that there would for sure be something interesting at the Library Board meeting, but they might or might not be something interesting at the City Council meeting.
 The meetings of the Library Board seem to be like a lot of other meetings that I have attended; much of the agenda is devoted to issues that are of importance to those directly involved in the management of the organization but are not of much interest to the general public. Before the meeting of the Library Board, the Finance Committee met. It has the same membership as the Library Board. A strange item at this meeting is that a large utility check the library wrote two years ago has not been cashed, so it will disappear as a liability on the balance sheet.

The most interesting part of the meeting was the director's report on the flooding problems. She had on display the thirteen pieces of pipe that had had leaks. Most of them were in the western part of the building, in the area behind the circulation desk where the staff have their offices, but there were a few in other parts of the library. On Tuesday a staff member going in to do some work heard a sound in the electrical room and found a leak from a pipe above the water heater. She shut off the valve and called the director, who had her inspect the entire library, where she found no other problems. Another staff person also came in on Tuesday and worked until 5:00 pm and was not aware of any other problems.
 On Wednesday morning a patron of the library noticed water coming out of the building and notified the director. Quickly a plumber, and electrician (because many things were plugged into floor outlets that were in water), and Stanley Steamer were called in. The water was shut down and further inflow of water stopped. The plumber said that the pipes looked like they were from a building without heat, though the heat was on and the library had let faucets drip. One board member suggested that the roof needed to be inspected because he thought that the wind had opened something to bring the intense cold inside the building. Most of the flooding was in the western half of the building. The stacks on the east side, where most of the books are shelved, were not affected. The stacks on the west side, where the current magazines are kept, are empty, but that is not because the books were damaged. Rather that is because the shelves were raised a bit on bits of Styrofoam so that the carpets underneath can thoroughly dry.  
 The library found it could not rent fans or dehumidifiers because building flooding was widespread in the Midwest and all the equipment had already been rented. They put out a plea for barn fans and dehumidifiers and got a good response. They then found Dryco and the large dehumidifier was put into place. Inside the library it blows air into large plastic tubes. You can see one in the picture above and another more clearly in the picture below. There is no air returned to the dehumidifier. Dry air blows in via the tubes that have small holes cut in them every few feet. The carpet in the above picture felt dry, but until the people who are running the operation say that the moisture levels are OK, the drying will continue.
 Though the area that the public sees does not look too bad, the staff areas in the rooms behind the circulation desk look awful. The lower two feet of drywall has been removed in much of this area because it was damaged by the water. The carpet in the staff area had padding beneath it and the padding soaked up water, damaging the carpet. All the carpet in this area has been torn out and the floor is down to bare concrete.
 All the equipment and furniture is wrapped in plastic. About twenty computers were soaked and it is not clear how many, if any, will be salvaged. Fortunately, the computer servers for the library, which is what holds the catalog and the website, was not damaged. The desks, which are made from a laminate, are questionable. Most of the library materials that were destroyed were new items that were being processed. Most of what is in the dumpster is drywall, carpeting, and insulation.
 The library may be closed for the rest of the week. The staff has been moved to several other areas, including the conference room in which meetings, including the library board meeting, are held. (The board met around a table to the right of the entrance. I was the only member of the public who attended.) One problem that the staff still has is phone service--it is not back to normal. However, the library's wireless network is up and running and if you want, you can park in the parking lot and use it for your wireless device.

Update: Tuesday morning the Dryco people removed their dehumidifier. The library is dry. Now it has to rearrange everything.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for a wonderful explanation of what happened at the library. The pictures helped put things in perspective.

Jane L. said...

Thanks, again, for keeping us posted on library and other "stuff" around our fair town--better than a newspaper!

Anonymous said...

Business next to Mary Lou's was Erickson's photography studio. Not sure what was next. Then Russell Jewelry was to the west of Hudson's.