Library faces long recovery

Published 12:41 am Monday, November 15, 2004

By By Arthur McLean
Administrator and board members at the Atmore Public Library are urging patience as the library faces a long list and timeline for repairs.
"The had to tear out a lot more than it was originally though," said Joyce Bolden, library director.
Hurricane Ivan severely damaged the building, destroying the roof, cracking walls, nearly crushing the font entrance and sending water damage throughout the building.
"Everything in the building is boxed right now," Bolden said. "We have to search through boxes just to do the work we're doing now."
Computers were destroyed, and at least 1,000 books were lost to water damage. Most of the damaged books were the library's reference materials and non-fiction books, the most expensive and most used books in the library, Bolden said.
In addition to the books, a full printed page lists the number of items that will have to be either fixed or replaced before the library can be back to normal. Everything from flooring to air conditioning, ceilings and light fixtures, to the library's elevator will have to be replaced.
"We've been told wwe have the largest FEMA claim in Atmore," Bolden said. "We don't know how much the total damage estimate is yet, but we hope between insurance and FEMA, we'll be able to come back."
The library is already in the process of applying for a $7,000 grant that will be matched with $3,000 of local funds to help replace the books it lost to the storm.
Bolden said she understands the library's patrons want to come back, but the building is too dangerous, and the computer systems could not support doing business at this time.
"All of our books are in boxes right now," Bolden said. "We hope to reopen by January, but we ask you to have patience as we recover."
The city of Atmore passed a resolution Monday to hire a emergency contractor to either repair or replace the roof, and more work is expected to follow soon. Masland Carpets has carpet ready to install, but must wait for more work to be finished, Bolden said.
"The patrons don't really understand the damage inside, but it is extensive," Bolden said.

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