Saturday, September 3, 2011

Wells Memorial Library Sustains Heavy Damage from Irene

Historic library devastated by Irene. (Los Angeles Examiner, 9/2/2011)

Excerpt: The town of Upper Jay, New York sits 837 feet above sea level, at the foot of the Adirondack mountains, and six hours’ drive from the coast. They were not expecting Irene. Late Sunday night, torrential rain cascaded down the mountains, swelling the Ausable river, which floods at seven feet, to an astonishing 18-foot level, and overflowing into the town. Marc Gavin, owner of The Bookstore Plus in nearby Lake Placid, said, “We have friends who live in Upper Jay. Some people were given only three minutes’ warning to evacuate.”

Wells Memorial Library, an important part of the community’s soul, flooded and sustained heavy damage. Marie-Anne Azar Ward, Wells Memorial Library Board of Trustees President, said, “At the peak, the water reached the numbers on the speed limit sign in front of the library. Now we’ve got a lot of mud and ruined paper to clear out; it’s almost like cement. We’re still assessing the damage, but the children’s books are almost all gone. Young Adult and Middle School, too – though some of those were spared. I personally had to throw out Harry Potter, Eragon and Rick Riordan's Olympians, plus the Twilight saga. We’ve lost a lot of archive documents. Luckily, we’d digitized many of them.

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