Nearly a month after Jake Epp Library staff discovered a huge section of their adult fiction books were damaged from water, clean-up has taken place, while the task of counting of the lost literature continues.

Co-Interim Library Director, Aubrey Walker gives us an update.

“We finished sorting books earlier this week and just today have finished checking them out and assessing costs. And sadly, we lost 1,602 books due to the water incident.”

Walker continues, “While that feels like a lot, and it is, we do have about 75,000 items in the library so, considering the area the damage spread to it is no surprise it took about 2% of our books down with it.”

She notes that they are still waiting on insurance to let staff know how much of the damage will be covered and how much money they will be getting to replace the damaged and destroyed books.

Water damaged book shelves lie on their side waiting for appraisal and repairsWater damaged bookshelves lie on their side waiting for appraisal and repairs

Walker shares where the water came from.

“We believe that it came in from humidity control device that was in our ceiling. So, it wasn't from the snow or anything like that, though had had been a snowy weekend snow. It was a humidity controlled and as far as we know, there was a tube that came loose and so then it just started pouring.”

She says repairs to the ceiling and the water damaged area are still ongoing.

As to what guests to the Jake Epp Library can expect, Walker says,

“So, right now our adult fiction is a bit of a mess, since they're working on that whole area. We've had to rehouse most of our adult fiction (books). Guests can ask for a book, and we can help them track it down in whatever crazy organization we have going, we can help them figure out where things are. If folks are looking for a book, that has gone missing due to this whole, lovely, delightful situation that we're in, then we would recommend that they try inter-library loan service because it's going to be quite some time before we get around to replacing those books and having them hit the shelves again.”

She continues, “We're hoping that soon we can have the adult-fiction back in order the way that we would like it. But we have a few things that need to be done first, before that can happen.”

When asked about the shelving units that were damaged by the water, Walker says they will take a bit longer to get fixed.

“So, the easy-section shelving might remain a little bit of a disaster until we get those shelving units back up and running and get everything back in its place. So right now, there's just tables everywhere with books on them, and that will keep going for a little while yet, but hopefully we'll at least get the adult fiction back where it should be soon.”

Walker says if guests notice shelving units laying on their side, it’s ok as those pieces are still waiting for appraisal and repairs.

“So that's the part that you should probably be a little bit more careful around and we do still have the part where they (construction crew) are working cornered off.”

After having the heart-breaking experience on October 28th, Walker says Library staff have hope.

“We know we have a long road ahead of us, yet this is just the start of a bit of a process, but the staff is always optimistic. We're talking about things in terms of, oh, “we'll have a Mac-Tac party” where we process the books and, you know, we just try and put a positive spin on everything here. So, we'll get it back to normal. We'll make the best of it. It's just another hiccup that we'll just have to find a way to go on.”



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