BAR HARBOR — Flooding at the Jesup Memorial Library last week caused the library to close its basement to the public while damage is assessed and repaired. Library staff noticed about an inch of standing water in the basement last Tuesday. The rest of the library is open to the public.
“We don’t know exactly what the cause was,” said library director Ruth Eveland on Friday. “We’re waiting to have someone come and scope out the drains.”
She said no estimate has yet been received for cost of the repairs, but quick thinking by volunteers kept the damage from being much worse.
As soon as the flooding was discovered, a volunteer used a shop vacuum to start removing the water and moving items off the floor. Eastern Mold Remediation was called in to help remove the water.
“Water could create mold issues for the books,” Eveland said. “They got dehumidifiers going pretty quickly once we had floor space to set them on that wasn’t in a puddle.”
In early 2017, the library was closed for 21 service days after dust from construction on the brick exterior of the building came through the windows.
“We couldn’t breathe in there,” she said.
Press officer Kayla Chagnon said five patron-use computers were in the basement along with the library’s archive and their collection of books about Maine or by Maine authors.
The flooding caused a contra dance to be cancelled and other events to be rescheduled or moved to other locations.
Most the basement floors are concrete. But a wooden floor in one room is being completely replaced.
“We did a little testing and realized that the floor was going to have to come out,” Eveland said. “It was spongy. We got everything out and moved it into the computer space downstairs.”
That room houses a kitchen, a meeting room, offices and historic collections. Eveland said the floor should be replaced by the end of the week.
The Jesup is a private nonprofit, but receives significant support from the town. The draft budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1 will include a $150,000 contribution to the library if approved by voters at town meeting.