JONESVILLE — It was standing room only at the Jonesville town meeting on Monday night as community members, and even some non-area residents, came to show their support for the Jonesville Library. The library building, located at 105 E. Main St., is owned by the town and has sustained a significant amount of damage from recent storms causing leaks and now a build up of black mold in the building.
The library has been operating with limited services due to the damage as portions, including the public restrooms and children’s area of the facility, have had to be closed off. Staff members and even some patrons have complained of illnesses related to exposure to the mold in the building as well.
A number of area residents gave impassioned speeches at the meeting, begging the town council to assist in saving the library. At a previous meeting, the board considered replacing the roof, but reports from David Henderson of DAVHENCO Inc. who has tested the air quality and other conditions of the building, said that essentially the building would be a “money pit” and not worth saving.
Branch Library Barbara Gilpin offered a temporary solution to the problem. Gilpin said officials at Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital had offered the library use of the building next door to the urgent care, at 546 Winston Road, for six months for only the cost of the utilities. The board voted and agreed upon this solution, to loud applause and a standing ovation from community members.
The town council also voted to assist the library in paying for the costs of cleaning the books to ensure the mold contamination would not spread to a new location. That process, Henderson estimated, would cost around $4,750 to complete and would require the construction of a three-chamber unit to ensure the mold could be removed and not passed on to another space.
Gilpin said the library would likely remain open with limited services on Tuesday, but close on Wednesday to sign the needed documents to begin the process of cleaning and moving the books to the new location next to the Hugh Chatham Urgent Care.
Gilpin said she was thankful to all the community members who came out on a rainy night to show their support for the library and she was pleased the council members voted to assist them in moving forward.
Following the decision on how to move forward to the library, council member Wayne Moore asked that the town’s lawyer look further into issues with the insurance policy the town had on the library building.
A final decision has still not been given to the town in regard to the insurance coverage of the leaking roof. Town Manager Scott Buffkin did say a representative from the insurance company said the damage seemed to have happened over time and not from a specific storm and therefore would not be covered.
Kitsey Burns Harrison may be reached at 336-679-2341 or on Twitter @RippleReporterK.