Library patrons may be eager to resume their book-borrowing but, due to air quality issues in its building, Huntsville Public Library (HPL) won’t be re-opening for in-person service any time soon.
The library had closed on March 11 for repairs, just before the COVID-19 pandemic forced the closure of most facilities. HPL began initial stages of reopening in June, beginning with its book drop, but by early July staff had noticed that something was wrong.
“There were some symptoms they’d had beforehand that reoccurred when they were back in the building,” said David Tremblay, HPL’s new CEO and chief librarian.
An air quality test determined that there is mould in a crawlspace beneath the building. An investigation is underway.
“There’s been some water seeping in through the foundation,” said Tremblay. “At this point in time I don’t know the full extent.”
An engineering report outlining the scope of needed repairs will take three to six weeks to complete, he added, after which they can determine a plan for remediation.
The library will continue to offer online resources including the Overdrive/Libby app, Ancestry, CreativeBug, Flipster Magazines, Lynda.com, and virtual activities. It has also shifted some of its collections budget to be able to offer more e-resources, said Tremblay.
In August, the library board and staff will be discussing possible options for services outside of the building, such as using another location to collect already-loaned items and perhaps also loan a small part of the collection out to patrons.
For now, library users should keep any materials they’ve borrowed—the book drop remains closed because staff can’t access the building—and continue to access e-services at huntsvillelibrary.ca.
Tremblay said staff members are missing their daily interaction with the public “to help their community and better their community. I think that’s something that we all look forward to [getting back to].”
Updates will be posted on the Reconnect page on the library’s website.
If you have questions about the library’s digital collections, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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