Notes from The Director 2022 Flood
The state of the library:
At around 4:00 am July 28th, 2022 there was catastrophic flooding in Letcher and surrounding Counties.
Of our 4 branches, only one escaped without damage. The Bookmobile is gone. We will replace it as soon as possible.
The Jenkins Public Library is open and providing services as usual.
Our Fleming Neon Branch sustained the most damage. A tree carried by flood waters broke the glass of the back door allowing the flood to gush through the building and out a window in the cafe, taking the window frame with it. The water line was at 5 foot. With help from volunteers and some friends, we have been able to remove a lot of the muck, sodden furniture and destroyed books and computers. We removed much of the drywall and carpeting. The next step for this branch is to get a professional recovery company in to finish taking the building back to studs, clean it, dry it and spray anti-mold/anti-fungal solutions. Then we can start the process of rebuilding.
Our Blackey Public Library seems to be in better shape. The lower level had about 2-2 1/2 half feet of flood water. The water did not get into the upper level. We will need to remove the carpeted stage, the flooring, 4-5 feet of drywall and possibly the wooden bookshelves. We are trying to set Blackey up so they can provide services like faxing, some new books and a couple public computers from upstairs while the work happens downstairs. We are hoping to have Blackey back open by Christmas.
The Harry M. Caudill Memorial Library is open. We had about 4 feet of water in the subbasement and back stairwell. We lost everything we had stored down there: holiday decorations, old books we were going to put on our free shelves, old computers, old card catalogs (old plastic ones, not the cool ones like on Big Bang Theory). And the elevator is not currently working but we are trying to get it fixed.
We do have flood insurance for the Fleming Neon Public Library. We also qualify for some FEMA grants/funds for the other two that were damaged. From what I understand, about 75% is covered by FEMA and state government and we cover the rest.
While knowing we are going to have insurance money and FEMA grants is very helpful and a big relief, it won't pay for everything and we won't have access to that money right away.
The insurance company is trying to get us some upfront money to pay for the final stages of drying and cleaning out the Fleming Neon Public Library building. We will be using donated money and budgeted emergency funds to do the same at the Blackey Public Library and the Harry M. Caudill Memorial Library in Whitesburg. And when FEMA reimburses that, we will use your donations to help pay for necessary things like new computer desks, replacing drywall, painting, headphones, kids puzzles, and plants.
All the money donated will be used to bring our libraries (they are yours too) back to where they were before and better. We will make sure they are as welcoming, fun and comfortable as ever.
Many people have asked about donating books: we would love to have them if you can wait a few months. If we can use them in our libraries, we will. If the books are not needed for our collection, we will find homes for them.
I'm sure it will take decades to bring the region back to where it was before the flood. I am hoping our libraries recover much faster and act as an inspiration and refuge. I plan to keep our main branch, Harry M. Caudill Memorial Library open while we dry out the basement and repair/replace the elevator. I would love to have our Blackey Public Library back open before Christmas 2022. And hope to reopen our Fleming Neon Library for the 1st of August 2023. Keep an eye on our Facebook pages and website, www.lcld.org for photos, updates, news, and important information.
Much love and appreciation to you all,