Tough spot

Al­ber­ton Li­brary board has meet­ing to dis­cuss how to pay for re­pairs

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - THE PROVINCE -

It takes time and money to cor­rect dam­age that flood­ing caused to the Al­ber­ton Li­brary, says the chair­man of the li­brary’s board of di­rec­tors.

“We’ve got lots of time, but no money,” Alan Curtis said.

The dam­age, which led to air qual­ity is­sues, was dis­cov­ered in early May. The li­brary was then closed so dam­aged gyprock could be re­moved from the base­ment and re­pairs car­ried out.

The build­ing re-opened for a week in early June, but Curtis said it closed again af­ter air qual­ity tests re­vealed there was still a prob­lem in the base­ment. The musty smell also re­turned.

There’s no set date for re­open­ing, but, if ev­ery­thing goes well Curtis hopes the fa­cil­ity will re­open be­fore the end of Au­gust.

Some fol­low-up re­pairs have been car­ried out but more work is still needed, he said. A non­load­bear­ing wall has been re­moved and another one still has to be taken out. Sills have to be sealed, a base­ment crawl space sealed off and the base­ment dis­in­fected again. The dam­age is not cov­ered by in­sur­ance.

Curtis noted the ex­ten­sive flood­ing in early May oc­curred while the ground was still frozen and wa­ter couldn’t get away. There was ev­i­dence of more flood­ing af­ter the ini­tial re­pairs were car­ried out. Sub­se­quent to that, curb­ing and land­scap­ing work was car­ried out on the ad­ja­cent bank lot, which Curtis says di­rects wa­ter away from the li­brary build­ing.

The Al­ber­ton Li­brary is a unique sit­u­a­tion, ex­plained Grace Daw­son, the branch and com­mu­nity ser­vices li­brar­ian for ru­ral li­braries in the pro­vin­cial sys­tem. It is the only li­brary fa­cil­ity owned by a vol­un­teer board. It’s op­er­ated that way for 62 years.

The board re­lies on a $2,000 grant from the Town of Al­ber­ton, do­na­tions and fundrais­ing to cover its an­nual op­er­at­ing costs. The Pro­vin­cial Li­brary Ser­vice sup­plies the books and pays for a part-time li­brary tech­ni­cian. The pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment waives the prop­erty tax.

Curtis said the money the vol­un­teer board had saved were used up in the first round of re­pairs. That has left them won­der­ing where to turn.

The board called a public meet­ing for Thurs­day, July 30, to dis­cuss the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion and to reach out for rec­om­men­da­tions.

The meet­ing will be held at the Al­ber­ton Arts and Her­itage Cen­tre at 7 p.m.

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