Flood-Damaged Libraries Emerge As Response Hubs

09/19/11 4:34PM By Kirk Carapezza

AP/Mary Altaffer
Crystyn Begley sweeps mud and debris from the Windham Public Library.
Vermont libraries still recovering from Tropical Storm Irene damage are serving as community gathering places.

In West Hartford, the library was one of the state's hardest hit.

The White River inundated the brick building, and more than half of its book collection was ruined by the floods.

Martha Reid is the State Librarian of Vermont. She says although West Hartford and more than 100 other libraries across the state saw some storm damage, residents have continued to use them for disaster and social recovery.

(Reid) "In many towns, I'm getting reports of folks coming to the library just to make connections. They need someone to talk with. They're meeting their neighbors. They're sharing stories. They're using the internet to connect with the larger world. But I think it's that human connection that I hear about so much in these libraries."

Reid says Killington's library suffered water damage in its basement, and it's now open just three days instead of six days a week.

She says people should call ahead to check building hours.

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