Walking into the Colville Public Library’s (CPL) basement is like walking into organized chaos---it’s planned, but thankfully not permanent. Books and furniture are stacked in cluttered, but contained rows. Patrons with an item on hold can come in on the side entrance off of Astor Street to retrieve it, but there’s no milling about in the books that have taken temporary shelter in the building’s lower level.
Because of repairs, the Colville Public Library will be closed until Tuesday, Sept. 6. The library was originally scheduled to be closed for only a week and reopened on Aug. 29 as workers replaced the carpeting, painted and did electrical upgrades. The deadline had to be extended when it was discovered that the sub-flooring was structurally insufficient, according to Stevens County Library District Director Amanda Six.
“This section of the building we’re in right now is over 80 years old,” says Six, motioning to an office in the basement. “When they tore up the carpet they found sections of the floor that were 60 to 80 years old and needed to be tended to.”
City takes $15,000 out of current expense for repairs
Originally, the project was funded with money left to the Colville Library Improvement Club through mining stock. Upon discovery of the sub-floor’s condition, the issue of its repair reverted to the City of Colville, since the building is owned by the city. At last Tuesday’s City Council meeting, council approved to authorize up to $15,000 out of the current expense beginning fund balance to repair the 4,998 square feet of sub-flooring.
The discovery of the decrepit flooring caused a mad dash for boxes and volunteers last week since all the items and furniture had to be removed from the library before work crews could begin replacing the flooring. Volunteers and staff moved about 40,000 items out of the building, some of it going to staff members’ and volunteers’ homes and the library basement for safekeeping. The establishment’s furniture was moved to the former Stevens County Public Works building near the north end roundabout.
“One of our staff members has a barn, so she has a lot of books until we reopen,” says Six. “People have been really great about coming forward to help us deal with this.”
When Six sent out an emergency email last week asking for contributions of boxes to store books, CPL Manager Krista Ohrtman says the response time helped move the process along.
“It took a ton of boxes and people really came through,” says Ohrtman. “People put them on our lawn, near the book drops or came in with them. It was really helpful because we had to get everything out fast. The sooner we got everything out, the sooner the project could be completed.”
The request for help is being sent out again this week as CPL staff members attempt to put everything back where it belongs. Volunteers are needed to help reassemble shelving and transport furniture and items back to the library.
“We want to offer a sincere thank you to the people who have already put in so many hours of hard labor to make this project run smoothly,” says Ohrtman.
To volunteer or for more information concerning holds, call 675-5102 or 684-6620.