KRL, local boosters raise thousands to repair Manchester library

Kitsap Regional Library and the Friends of Manchester Library (FOML) haven’t yet determined when the library will re-open, but the wait won’t be as costly as it seemed a few days earlier.

A holiday event in Manchester on Dec. 15 to benefit the Friends of Manchester Library raised just over $3,600 that can be put toward repairs for the building that was inundated after a pipe burst following the pre-Thanksgiving winter storm and power outage.

The Manchester Branch has been closed since Nov. 25 because of the water damage from that event.

It now looks like the branch could be closed for about three months, said John Winslow, president of the Friends of Manchester Library, which owns the building.

A more specific estimate won’t be available until a bid for the reconstruction is approved and a contractor is hired.

“We don’t have bids on the repairs yet but expect the total to be in the tens of thousands of dollars,” said Winslow. “Fortunately, the building is covered by insurance with a $5,000 deductible and we hope that most of the losses will be covered by insurance.”

Also on Wednesday, Winslow learned that the Kitsap Regional Library Foundation Board had voted to donate $5,000 to help offset the expenses and the deductible for the insurance claim.

“I was surprised and delighted to learn that the Kitsap Regional Library Foundation had voted unanimously to make a donation,” Winslow said. “The FOML extends its sincere thanks to the KRL Foundation’s generous donors for helping us recover from the worst disaster the Manchester Library has seen in its 63 years in operation.

“The Friends of the Manchester Library (FOML) have an annual operating budget of about $30,000, so taking a budget hit of this magnitude could have been devastating. It gives us a chance to see how much the community cares for its libraries.

The Foundation and our community have indeed helped us turn lemons into lemonade.”

Winslow described the volunteers who make up FOML as “absolutely despondent” when they discovered the damage to the building on Thanksgiving Day.

He credited the quick help of volunteers, KRL staff and private contractors for preventing greater losses.

“We were lucky to have very little damage to the collection and the Friends’ used bookstore, but the office spaces and restrooms were drenched, ceilings collapsed, and anything touching the floor anywhere in the building was affected by the water.

The current estimate of loss to contents in the building is $6,200.

The cost of water removal, demolition of damaged sheetrock and insulation, mold remediation and reconstruction is not yet known.

Cleanup, demolition and work to assure that mold does not grow in the building is still underway.

Two contractors have examined the building and FOML and KRL expect to receive bids on the re-construction work in the coming week or so. Those bids, in addition to identifying the cost of reconstruction, will also identify the time line for the work.

In the meantime, KLR will reopen the book drop box at the Manchester Branch on Dec. 27, the Monday after Christmas.

At the time, Manchester area library users will be able to return books to the Manchester book drop instead of taking them into the Port Orchard Branch or other library branches.

Winslow said that the Manchester Water District has offered to accept used books donated to the FOML at the Water District’s new office on East Daniels Loop.

This temporary book donation drop will be available while the library is closed for repairs.

Books normally housed at Manchester are in storage.

The Manchester library staff has been redeployed to other KRL branches while the branch is closed.

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