CREST Activation: Yancey County Public Library

CeilingLeak2Thanks to Heather South for her many contributions to this post.

CeilingLeakLast Tuesday, January 7th, the Yancey County Public Library staff discovered a sprinkler system pipe had frozen and burst in the attic area of their Burnsville building as a result of the severe overnight freeze. Low temperature recordings in the area ranged from -1 in Asheville to -24 on Mount Mitchell. The drywall ceiling had soaked up water, which ran down into the plaster and masonry walls, and eventually seeped out into the drop ceiling. By Tuesday at 3pm, the ceiling came down from the second story down to the floor. All the water and force then went down to the first floor, running along the ceiling and walls causing flooding of that side of the library on the main floor as well.  Water damaged books in the history, children’s, and juvenile sections.

Our C2C offices learned about the localized disaster on Thursday morning, January 9th, and immediately activated CREST members for a quick response. Jeff Futch and Heather South of NCDCR’s Western Office in Asheville drove to Burnsville to assess damages and report back. We sent word out to the rest of CREST to be on standby and ready to report to Yancey County to assist with the recovery efforts if necessary. Meanwhile, our office prepared to transport recovery supplies.

Jeff Futch, Supervisor for NCDCR's western office and CREST member trains volunteers in air drying techniques.

Jeff Futch, Supervisor for NCDCR’s western office and CREST member, trains volunteers in air drying techniques.

Working with Yancey County PL staff, Jeff and Heather determined by that afternoon that there was no need for additional CREST members to help with recovery. Staff and volunteers from the library ably followed the training Jeff and Heather offered in onsite air drying techniques and recovered as many books as possible. Although this was a small-scale disaster, we feel proud that the system we’ve implemented worked!

In addition to Jeff and Heather’s technical assistance and guidance, the State Historic Preservation Office staff was also available for consultation. The library operates in a c. 1920 building that formerly housed the Yancey Collegiate Institute. It received a grant from the Save America’s Treasures program to refurbish the building before it opened there in 2011.

With help from CREST, recovery is underway.

With help from CREST, recovery is underway.

Heather’s report back to us included a glimpse of the more emotional side of recovery efforts. “While we were there, many community members came by and were devastated that something had happened to their library.  In a small town, libraries become the heart of the community and I think the fact responders were there helping save their precious library meant more to them then we’ll ever know.  The have a long road ahead but are in good spirits and have a great team of staff members and regular volunteers who are working hard to recover and reopen.”

Yay team!

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This blog will contain posts from the C2C project staff on a variety of topics related to collections care and disaster preparedness. Enjoy the posts and let us know if you would like additional information or have a topic you would like for us to address.

Posted on January 14, 2014, in disaster preparedness and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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