Baxter Springs library looks forward after flooding


It could be at least three months before a library in Baxter Springs is fully functional again.

After a water heater broke in the buildings attic last month, enough damage has been done that the building is going to have to be gutted.

About 25% of the libraries inventory has been damaged. The board of trustees met tonight to discuss how they can move forward.

“So the water went from the attic to our upstairs, which is also our children’s department and it flooded half of the floor. And then came on down to the first floor and completely flooded the front half of the building,” said Andrea Bresee, director of Johnston Public Library.

Repairs will need to be made to the ceiling, lighting fixtures and some rooms will need to be completely gutted.

“I didn’t see until the next day. The next afternoon, it was quite a shock at that point. Ya know there’s still water dripping from the ceiling.”

Library staff estimate about 1,000 books have been lost from the flooding.

There is the possibility of a temporary location.

Mary Hickson, trustee president said, “and ya know with the holidays coming up and people wanting to, ya know kids out of school, and people just wanting to pick up those books for to read for enjoyment time off during the holidays, we’d like to ya know help our community.”

As for staff wages, arrangements are in order to ensure they are still getting paid before the holidays.

“maybe with this temporary location, we’ll be able to give them some hours and then also some more part time help.”

But the main goal right now is to get things back up and running so they can continue to serve their community.

“Right now the library, this is our main focus. We had other things plans as far as programs and just other things. We like to add things all the time. That’s all come to a halt right now. Our main focus is just getting back up and running and getting the community back in here,” said Bresee.

Those who hold a membership with the library and need to use their services are being reffered to the galena and columbus public libraries.

Now, trustees are seeking a temporary location to serve as a library until they can get things up and running again.

And they will also soon be accepting donations at the Baxter Springs American Bank for repairs.

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