Contributed by Jefferson Carnegie Library
The afternoon of November 8 quickly changed from a typical rainy day to one requiring rapid response to prevent catastrophic damage to historic Jefferson Carnegie Library. Flashing around one of the chimneys came loose during a storm, directing water down the chimney structure and elevator room. As recounted by Circulation Manager Debra Brewer, “Everything was fine, and then the next thing we knew, water was everywhere.” It flowed through the older children’s room, a comfy spot for third through eighth graders to enjoy a wide selection of “chapter books.” Once the immediate response ended, 430 children’s book were no longer suitable for library circulation. According to Board of Trustees President George Otstott, the damage to the building is still being assessed, but will certainly require roof repair and repainting in both the main floor and upstairs ballroom.
Help from the community arrived quickly to assist Library Director Peter Kuchta, Children’s Director Michele Otstott, and Brewer remove books from shelves, and then move the shelves from the flooded room. Among those helping were library patron Ted McKinnon, Friends of the Library board member Tony Jones, and Boy Scout Troop 555. After emptying the Junior Room, there was still water to be mopped up, surfaces to be dried with towels, and dehumidifiers to set up. Visitors to the library are probably startled when they first encounter the cluster of empty shelves and stacked books in the middle of the normally neat and organized structure. Kuchta is confident order will be restored once everything has dried out, the damage is completely assessed, and repairs have been made. Fortunately, the areas housing children’s picture books, adult books and media collections were not affected. Despite the damage, the library is open and all services are available as usual.
Monetary donations are being accepted to help with the cost of repairs and replacement of books. The library address is 301 West Lafayette Street, Jefferson, TX 75657. The library is a 501(c)(3) organization; donations are tax deductible…
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