Colville Public Library staff and volunteers experienced a mad scramble late last month when the task of replacing the sub-flooring was added to the building’s renovation project. While new tile carpet was being installed, workers discovered that the flooring underneath was structurally compromised, which meant that books, computers, shelves, and all furniture had to be moved out so just less than 5,000 feet of flooring could be replaced.
But with determination and lots of helping hands, the library was able to reopen Sept. 6 after being closed to the public since August 20.
While patrons were still able to retrieve items on hold from a makeshift set-up in the building’s basement and book drops were open, that was the extent of operations until the flooring could be retooled and repaired. Otherwise, items were stored away in the basement and even in the barn of an employee.
“Obviously, we are still settling in,” said Colville Public Library Director Krista Ohrtman last Friday.
But a new and sturdier walking surface isn’t the only new boon to the library. Additional lighting has been added to the magazine and periodicals section, the children’s section, and new light fixtures have been added for energy efficiency.
The walls have received a fresh coat of paint and there is a new computer counter to accommodate patrons, as well as four new floor outlets where extension cords once stretched across the carpet, held down by duct tape. There are two new reading tables as well as a children’s reading area.
The Friends of the Colville Library Club (FCLC), who had received $60,000 from mining stock that was donated to the organization from a private individual several years ago, funded the initial portion of the project. Upon discovery of the damaged sub-floor, however, the City of Colville contributed $15,000 from the Current Expense fund for what Ohrtman called an “unexpected emergency.”
“We had been living with what we had for a long time and it was working out okay,” said Ohrtman. “But the FCLC wanted to help us out and they had the funds to do so, so we sat down with them and discussed some of the improvements we would like to see.”
For an entity that sees an average of 500 to 600 people come through the doors during operating hours, Ohrtman says the library is now more space efficient and welcoming to its patrons. The updates have also been completed in time for the Colville Library’s 100th anniversary observance in October.
“It’s a pretty special building,” Ohrtman said fondly. “We really want to extend our gratitude to the staff and volunteers who put in long hours to help create this beautiful new space. Every little bit helped.”