Upper Jay library ready for next chapter

Many volunteers helped to clean the Wells Memorial Library after Tropical Storm Irene.

Many volunteers helped to clean the Wells Memorial Library after Tropical Storm Irene. Photo by Keith Lobdell.

— Thanks to the hard work of the community, volunteers and local contractors, the Wells Memorial Library will be opening the page on a new chapter.

Mary Ann Ward, Library Board Chair Person for library said she and the board members are looking forward to the opening. She said library board and staff also look forward to continuing business as usual.

“We just want to be a library again, open up and give the people a library in their town once more,” Ward said.

The library, which was gutted when the waters of the Ausable River spilled over their banks during Tropical Storm Irene, will reopen its doors to the public with a grand reopening celebration Saturday, Jan. 28.

“The highlight will be people coming back into the building,” Mary Ann Ward, Library Board Chairperson said. “We want people to come and walk through so they can feel the appreciation for all the hard work.“

The library will open its doors at 11 a.m.. At 1 p.m., Librarian Karen Rappaport will lead off the celebration, performing with her jazz trio, Spring on Jupiter, for library visitors.

The Wells Memorial Library, built in 1906, is reopening five months to the date of the Aug. 28 flooding. The flood waters filled the building’s basement and flooded the main floor up to three feet.

Once the water receded, a thick mud cast was left over the ground floor and basement. Books, book cases and electrical equipment more were all severely damaged.

“It was a real sense of almost defeat, just a feeling of how are we going to do anything,” Ward said.

But, as the water receded, neighbors and volunteers arrived to help.

“When people ask how did you know where to start, I said to them ‘how do you eat an elephant,’” Ward said. “The answer is one bite at a time.”

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