Flood closes library

It has the plot of a whodunnit.

What caused a water pipe to burst and close Okanagan Regional Library’s Vernon branch is unknown, while patrons are left waiting to see when the doors will reopen.

“We’re going day by day,” said Tara Thompson, head librarian, as to when the damage may be repaired.

Thompson was notified Monday at about 6:30 p.m. that a water main right next to the outdoor book return bins was gushing with water.

“The bins were completely full of water,” she said, adding that the books in the bins may not be salvageable.

From there, the water — two to three inches in places — flowed into the back storage room and finally into the main entrance and the youth section.

Water poured into the elevator pit and a layer of ice has formed in the basement parkade.

In the meeting rooms, the base of the walls resemble Swiss cheese as restoration crews punch holes into the walls for ventilation to dry out wet gyproc.

A similar procedure is in other rooms, forcing library staff to remove shelves and books at ground level to improve access.

“I have a great staff so this will go quick,” said Thompson.

As the Vernon library is generally popular, it is eerily quiet.

“This area would usually be filled with story time right now,” said Thompson as she toured the facility Tuesday.

The cause of the pipe burst has not been determined although it’s possible that the pipe was frozen because the book bin room is not heated.

Thompson is trying to remain upbeat about the situation.

“Life happens and we have to work as hard as we can to deal with these things,” she said.

As well as the Vernon branch being shut down, the book returns are closed to the public. Patrons are asked to hold on to any books until the branch reopens or to visit another branch within the North Okanagan.

“Don’t worry about due dates, we’ll figure that out,” said Thompson.

Overdue fines will be waived during the closure and information on reopening will be available at or through Facebook and Twitter.


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