JONESVILLE — After being closed for nearly two months and losing around 80 percent of its collection, the Jonesville Public Library reopened on Saturday at its temporary location at 560 Winston Road in Jonesville.
Roof damage at its old location on West Main Street led to leaks in the building last fall which left many of the books damaged by water and even more damaged by mold. Branch librarian Barbara Gilpin said the library lost 15,736 books.
In November, the town council of Jonesville approved a move to the temporary location which was donated for a six-month period by Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital.
While much of the collection is gone, Gilpin and her staff said they are pleased to be reopen now and grateful to all who have helped in the process. The library will resume regular hours on Monday at the Winston Road location, next to the Hugh Chatham Urgent Care.
“Its opening now means we can get back to what we were hired to do, to be a library, to be a community space,” Gilpin said. “We’ve been closed for almost two months now, so just getting back to a place where people can come in makes us feel like we are part of our job again.”
Gilpin said the staff has gone above and beyond these last few months dealing with the water leaks and damage at the old location and the cleaning process of the books at the temporary location. They have put in many long hours, some even working on Thanksgiving, and Gilpin said if they didn’t care so much about it, it wouldn’t have happened.
She said the donation of the temporary space by Hugh Chatham was a “godsend” as are the book donations which are already pouring in.
“There’s been an abundance of donations. We are getting a lot of donations from folks and we are very grateful,” Gilpin said. Several schools have hosted book drives and many individuals have brought in donations as well.
At Saturday’s open house, donors were treated to a hot dog lunch and cookies.
Cody Amburn, a long-time library volunteer and chairman of the Jonesville Friends of the Library group, said he, too, was happy to be reopen in the temporary location.
“After seeing what happened through all the process and losing as many materials as we did, this means a lot to me,”Amburn said of the open house. “I’ve been with the library for 10 years. I was a volunteer when I was in high school, I got in over 3,000 volunteer hours. The library is like my second home. It means a great deal to me. It means a great deal to the community and I hope the town will continue to help us in finding a permanent location.”
A special meeting is scheduled at the Jonesville Town Hall on Monday at 7 p.m. to discuss future options for the library. Gilpin and Amburn said they hope to see construction of a new building, possibly a steel or modular building, on the site of the old library building as it is near the elementary school and provides many resources for the students.
The Jonesville Library is continuing to accept donations of books as well as other items such as area rugs, low book shelves, cleaning supplies, Lego’s/building blocks, educational toys, craft supplies and more. Gilpin said any books are welcome, but many of the ones lost were from popular prolific writers such as James Patterson, Danielle Steele and Nora Roberts. Children’s books and large print books are also greatly needed.
Kitsey Burns Harrison may be reached at 336-679-2341 or on Twitter @RippleReporterK.