Danville, Westville libraries reopen after dealing with burst pipes

Danville, Westville libraries reopen after dealing with burst pipes

DANVILLE — Two Vermilion County libraries were set to reopen today after being closed since late Tuesday morning due to burst water pipes.

Officials said subzero temperatures caused breaks at the Danville Public Library, 319 N. Vermilion St., and at the Westville Public Library, 233 S. State St.

Luckily, they added, the libraries only suffered minor damage.

"We only have 111 books that aren't salvageable," said Theresa Tyner, executive director of the Danville library, who estimates that staff pulled roughly 5,000 books off their shelves to keep them from being damaged by several leaks.

If staff had left 15 minutes prior when the library closed early, she added, "it could have been a lot worse."

Tyner said staff first discovered a leak from a steam pipe on the building's lower level, then from a coil to a variable air volume, or VAV, unit, a part of the HVAC system, on the same floor.

"At that point, we decided to close the building," Tyner said, adding that was around 11 a.m.

She said staff were in the process of packing up to go home when someone discovered a leak in a coil upstairs.

"They started rushing in and grabbing all the books off the shelves and putting them on carts," Tyner said.

"They got pretty good at spotting where a leak was starting," she said, adding there turned out to be five more upstairs. "I'm so proud of everybody. They pitched in, grabbing carts and filling them up with books, and kept going."

Tyner said the books were moved to a temporary location, and the ones that got wet were left out to dry. She added the damage only occurred in one section.

Tyner said contractors soldered the damaged pipes and were in the process of adding new insulation. She said the staff was sorting books and would reshelve them when they got the OK.

"We might get the go-ahead to reshelve some books today. But we might have to start tomorrow," she said, adding the library still planned to be open from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. today and Saturday.

Meanwhile at the Westville library, contractors were repairing a pipe in the overhead sprinkler system that also burst midmorning on Tuesday.

"Luckily, it was in the back of the library by the emergency exit," said assistant Lisa Pierce. "So, it didn't cause any damage to our materials."

By Thursday, most of the cleanup was done, Pierce said. Workers were still repairing sections of walls that were damaged.

"We're hoping to be open today," Pierce said.

Tyner thanked the public for being understanding about the temporary closure.

"Sometimes, the cold brings everyone to the library so they can play games or get on the computer," she said, noting that Danville schools were closed due to frigid temperatures on Thursday. "Sometimes, they just want to snuggle in at home."

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