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Power outage, flooding hampers library operations

By Gregg Williamson - Library Director

The last two weeks have been rough for our community. The library, just like many of you, has struggled with this historically extreme weather. Additionally, the unfortunate fire in the downtown area also affected our operations.

On Tuesday, Jan. 22, as the fire crews were bravely fighting the fire at 50 W. Washington St., the power to the downtown area was shut down. We, like most of the businesses in the downtown area, were forced to close until power was restored. This unforeseen shut down hampered our automated systems and necessitated manually checking out materials. Within two days, we were able to get the electronic circulating system functioning.

Unfortunately, after that came our frigid winter weather of last week. Based on warnings from the National Weather Service and the Clinton County Dispatch, I made the decision to delay opening the library at all our locations last Tuesday. As a general policy, the library will remain open during all but the most severe weather conditions. If banks, shopping centers, and government offices are open, the library will typically be open. Closing the library is at the discretion of the Library Director and ensuring the safety of our staff and any patrons who may be trying to use our facilities is the most important consideration.

In the event that severe weather does result in a decision to close the library, every attempt is made to notify the news media as early as possible. We also notify the public by the use of social media and make an announcement on the library’s webpage.

The additional closings last Wednesday and Thursday morning were not a surprise as the sub-zero temperatures saw the cancellation and closing of many organizations. However, what followed was a very unwelcome surprise. At around 3 p.m. last Thursday, after we had reopened to the public, a frozen sprinkler head in the north side foyer burst. Water came cascading down in the entryway and flooded into the front lobby and into the lower level mechanical room and coffee shop. Thanks to the quick work of the library Facility Manager, Eric Milburn, the water was shut off to the building and water damage was limited to a small area. Immediately the library staff in the building unplugged computers, printers, and a copier that were in danger of being ruined by flooding. The professional custodial staff of the library worked tirelessly to clean up the worst of the flooding throughout that evening and into the following day. We would like to thank Servpro of Boone and Clinton County who cleaned sediment from the floors and helped soak up all of the standing water on Saturday. Thank you to ACCS, the Frankfort Fire Department, and Brenneco Fire Protection for all of their help. We would like to give a special thank you to all of the concerned patrons who offered to help us with cleanup.

We are happy to report that no library materials were damaged, and all systems are fully functioning.

“It was a stressful event that could have been a lot worse,” Facilities Manager Eric Milburn said. “Having all hands on deck to get the water mess cleaned up is why were able to get the library open on Sunday afternoon for the patrons.”

Despite the library building having to close numerous times over the last two weeks, it is important to note that we strive to keep the library’s online services available 24/7. The library has electronic offerings of eBooks, eAudiobooks, music and streaming movies and television. For more information on our 24/7 library, please visit our website at myfcpl.org and click on eResources.