(This story was first published in the Jan. 9, 2014 edition of the Vermont Standard.)
By Katy Savage, Standard Staff
KILLINGTON — Thousands of dollars in repairs have started on a water pipe that broke last month at Sherburne Memorial Library.
The pipe broke in the early morning of Dec. 16 and seeped from the ceiling into the library’s Vermont Room and Library Director Gail Weymouth’s office, damaging a locking display case from the 1960s that contained books and documents dating back to the 19th century. The water continued to move under the book stacks in the library.
About $10,000 worth of electronics, including four desktop computers, an all-in-one printer and a barcode scanner was also destroyed. One of the computers damaged was just purchased by the library last July.
“I started crying,” said Weymouth who was also sick the morning she saw the damage. “I couldn’t stop crying.”
Weymouth said it was about minus-20 degrees the night the pipe broke and the water had been flowing from the ceiling for hours before staff came in that morning and found it.
It’s the second time that a pipe broke on the same water pipe line in less than two years in the building, which is just 15 years old. The first break was in April of 2012, when a pipe split at the floor level and water flooded the same rooms.
“It flooded my office worse,” she said.
|The interior of the Sherburne Library in Killington after a water line burst and flooded two rooms.|
Photo Provided By Gail Weymouth
The cost to repair the damage last April was $7,000. This time, the damage is estimated at more than $20,000.
Other items that were damaged included a baptismal gown, diaries, about 120 books and a historic quilt. The library cut hours for a few days after the flood.
“I was furious,” said Library Trustee President Diane Rosenblum of the damage. “I was upset.”
With a computer shortage, library patrons are being kept to a 30-minute time limit.
Weymouth met with the insurance adjuster on Sunday and received a call from Middlebury College on Tuesday, which offered to lend computers to help the library get back on its feet.
“We’re making do, but it’s creating a little bit of a backlog,” Weymouth said.
Repairs to the walls at Sherburne Memorial Library began last weekend. Weymouth expects them to be complete next week.
Sheetrock and insulation in the Vermont Room was torn out and will be replaced. Weymouth said the building will be winterized and staff may stop using an outside faucet that has been causing problems, to minimize flooding in the future.
Weymouth, who has been at the library for 30 years, plans to retire in February. Without an office, her work is spread throughout the library.
“We’ve had more water in this building…it was like this was the last straw,” Weymouth said.
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