One-Time Prison Renovated As Library

Former Georgia Jail becomes a library...great repurposing!

While strains of "Jailhouse Rock" played on a boom box outside, the Morgan County Library threw open the doors of the old detention center Sunday afternoon in an effort to nab new patrons and encourage current card holders to return.

Library workers and a host of volunteers, including Friends of the Morgan County Library and library board members, were on guard in the afternoon during an open house of the library's new, but temporary, home. During the two-hour event, traffic was steady as residents visited the facility on Athens Highway, which, until a year ago, was the site of the county jail. Library board members gave tours of the site while refreshments were served as well as new book titles and library cards.

Ferndale Library Director Moves On...Damply

FERNDALE, MI – City Public Library Director Doug Raber is the latest top official to leave the city for another job. This is library that we reported had to be closed due to flooding from a faulty water recycling system this past fall.

Raber, 60, is leaving to take a job as director at the Marion Public Library in Marion, Iowa.

“Doug Raber has resigned as director of the Ferndale Public Library effective Feb. 25, 2011,” the statement reads. “While he enjoyed working with the staff, board and patrons of the library, and the Ferndale community, Doug and his wife Jessica are moving on to a new career and academic challenges outside of Michigan.”

Raber was hired nearly three years ago at an $80,000 salary as the library was about to undergo a $4.5 million expansion and upgrade. The revamped library, which was nearly doubled in size to about 21,000 square feet, opened in August.

However, a hose connection failed on a new rainwater treatment over the Thanksgiving weekend and flooded the library with about 15,000 gallons of water. Library officials expect the facility to reopen next month.

Meanwhile, Back in Brisbane...

IT News reports: When flood waters threatened to breach the banks of the Brisbane River last Wednesday, the State Library of Queensland looked to be one of its first casualties. Fortunately for the library and Queensland's bookworms, management had a well-developed disaster recovery plan that went beyond simple data backup and that included all the minutiae of surviving catastrophe so that librarians didn't have to make it up as they went along.

As the water started flowing into the basement levels, the library's client services director Rory McLeod and staff swung into action.

"It was about following basic disaster procedures," McLeod said.

"Once we knew water encroached into the basements we knew there was a chance that we would lose power so it was about getting [backup power] checked and online and taking down essential systems as quickly as we could."

The library systems were replicated and a library principle is "lots of copies keeps stuff safe - so it's quite easy for us to point people at different servers at other state libraries", he said. The collections were safe and systems were being brought back online as staff returned.


Brisbane's Libraries Prepare

Art galleries and libraries in Brisbane, Australia, are shifting their collections to upper levels as floodwaters that struck rural areas move toward the city as reported by CBC News.

Waters are rising close to the city's major cultural institutions, including the Gallery of Modern Art, the Queensland Performing Arts Centre, the Queensland Museum and the State Library.

The library, Gallery of Modern Art and Queensland Art Gallery are close to the Brisbane River, which is expected to reach a flood peak at 5.2 metres sometime in the early morning hours of Thursday.

The art galleries and library have closed and the performing arts centre has cancelled performances. A car park for the cultural institutions is already flooded.

GoMA is currently hosting a summer exhibition, Art In The 21st Century, featuring contemporary art from 40 countries. Doyle said the art in the blockbuster show is not at risk because it is displayed on an upper level.

State librarian Rory McLeod said staff at the library have been quietly preparing for the flood for weeks and have moved collections out of the basement and ground floor.

However, he said, he is concerned that days of prolonged power cuts amid Queensland's summer humidity could result in damage to books and other collections.

"All of us have got climate controlled repositories where they are stored which will retain their ambient temperatures for a while, but after a few days there may be some humidity," McLeod said.

Wet and Woebegone MI Library Remains Closed

FERNDALE — Because of the extensive water damage that occurred late last month, the Ferndale (MI) Public Library will be closed until mid-February or later.

According to Ann Warner, president of the library Board of Trustees, it will take at least 10 weeks to finish all the recovery work on the library and get it ready to reopen to the public. She estimated that more than 15,000 gallons of water entered the library — located at 222 E. Nine Mile Road — when the water recycling system on the building’s mezzanine level somehow failed.

For Warner and others, news of the flooding was made “all the more heartbreaking” because of its timing: The damage occurred only four months after the expanded and renovated 21,000-square-foot library opened its doors.

“It would have been disheartening no matter when it occurred,” Warner said, “but this certainly makes it a lot more difficult to take.”

Library Director Doug Raber agreed. “It happened right after we felt like we were getting some momentum going and had started to become a real destination in the community,” he said. “To be deprived of the possibility of serving the public, that’s the most disappointing part.”

Getting Over the Horror of the Crossbow Slaying

Following up on our earlier story about the crossbow murder at Toronto's Main Street Branch Library, library staff and patrons are spending the weekend in counselling and the library remains closed.

Toronto Star reports: It was the busiest time of day on the busiest day of the week — as toddlers learned new words, students surfed the web, librarians checked-out books — when a crossbow fired a bolt through Si Cheng’s back.

The 52-year-old died, right there, the Main St. public library on Thursday, just after 4 p.m. His 24-year-old son, Zhou Fang is charged with pulling the trigger.

“This is a very unusual incident,” said Anne Marie Aikins, communications manager for Toronto Public Library. “So we’re trying to make sure anyone affected by it gets their needs met.”

Several after-school programs were underway when Cheng was murdered, including Ready for Reading — a program for kids 5 and under. Teenagers were arriving post class. Librarians were switching shifts.

“It was a bustling place at the time,” said Aikins.

In their panic, many people left knapsacks and books behind. Many are still logged into computers. And the library has a record of members signed up for the several programs going on at the time.

Damp Georgetown DE Library Will Reopen in January

GEORGETOWN -- The Georgetown (DE)Public Library will remain closed through the end of January, with repairs to the water-damaged facility estimated to cost $250,000, officials said. DelMarVa reports.

On Sept. 26, a defective pipe fitting damaged books, carpet, furniture, and drywall on the building's first floor. The flood occurred less than two months after the Aug. 9 grand opening. They don't build them like they used to in the Carnegie days I guess...

"The nature of this disaster is taking longer than we'd hoped," said Paul Enterline, president of the library's board of directors. "Basically, it's kind of like a whole new building project."

Last month, officials said the 29,400-square-foot building would be closed for eight weeks. Since that time, the opening of the first floor has been further delayed, but the second floor has been opened to the public.

Paean to Beautiful Libraries

Chauncey Mabe, Florida Center of Literary Arts says: "Public libraries are like babies: There aren’t any ugly ones. In a way, then, Flavorwire’s round-up of the “The Most Beautiful Libraries in the US” is as wrong as a baby beauty pageant. On the other hand, I’ll concede, it’s always better to have a handsome building than otherwise, if given the choice.

My first library was a storefront on Tazewell Street in the small Appalachian town of Wytheville, Virginia. It was on the way home from the elementary school, and I stopped in almost every day to wander the stacks, take in the heady aroma of book must and chat with the librarian, a tiny smiling woman who encouraged me to read books beyond my age group.

To me, no library can ever be more beautiful than that homely little place where my incipient love of reading was flamed into a full-fledged romance with books. I wish I could call the librarian’s name to mind so I can give her the credit she deserves. I’m sure every reader in the country has a similar origin story.

Bedbugs, Well Maybe, Close Riverhead LI (NY) Library

The Riverhead Free Library was closed Tuesday morning after bedbugs were detected by an insect-sniffing dog in the building.

But the dog’s sense might have been wrong, according to library director Lisa Jacobs. She said the dog was brought in as a precaution Tuesday morning and did find traces of the parasitic insect inside. However Suburban Exterminators inspected the building Tuesday and found no sign of bedbugs.

“They couldn’t find anything,” Ms. Jacobs said. “They literally tore apart a chair. They looked in all the places the dog had given a positive.”
The pest control company laid traps Tuesday to see whether or not the building was bedbug-free.

Riverhead News reports.


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