Cost of repairs to library may exceed $100K

Many damaged books cannot be replaced, officials fear. The cost of repairs may exceed $100,000.

April 19, 2011|By Gretchen Meier,

City officials this week upped the repair estimate for water damage to the Central Library — including nearly 1,000 spoiled books — to roughly $125,000.

The main branch reopened on Monday after officials closed the building for a week to repair the water damage, including new piping, carpet and dehumidifying the interior at a cost of nearly $100,000. Another $25,000 worth of nonfiction books, some of which can’t be replaced because they’re out of print, were destroyed by the water, officials reported.

The burst pipe on April 9 sent a stream of water into the library’s nonfiction section, triggering a fire alarm, Library Services Director Sharon Cohen said.


Firefighters who responded shut off water to the building at 110 N. Glenoaks Blvd.

Library officials have since thrown out nearly 1,000 biography, history and travel regular circulation books.

“Right now, staff members are checking which ones can and can’t be replaced,” said Helen Wang, assistant library services director. “We are contacting the vendors and finding that many of the books are out of print.”

Work to replace the carpet and pipes in the affected section took the entire week after officials decided to replace the carpeting underneath the shelves to avoid future problems.

“We decided it was best to use this time to replace the carpet and avoid any future mold problems, even though it had already dried,” Wang said.

Staff also examined every drenched or damp book to prevent mold issues on the shelves, she said.

There are no fundraisers for book replacements planned in the immediate future, but Wang said she expects future outreach will be done by officials and Friends of the Burbank Public Library.

Before the doors opened on Monday morning, maintenance crews also installed additional electrical outlets throughout the first floor to accommodate more patrons who bring their laptops to the library.

“The computers were all taken by the time I walked in this morning,” Wang said. “It feels very nice to be needed.”

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