Take Action to Support Libraries Today
Brownsville Library in PA needs your help
Please help the Brownsville Free Public Library in Pennsylvania recover from a devastating pipe break with a small donation today!
After a devastating water leak, this small and underfunded library in Brownsville Pennsylvania needs your help and support today!
An upstairs water pipe burst on the night of Thursday, December 6th, leading to major water damage throughout the library. This damage dramatically impacted the Children’s Activity Room in the lower level, leading to a temporary closure of the space which will deny the local children their traditional annual holiday party unless a new venue can be located quickly. This is especially devastating as that the library had recently spent $9.5 thousand from their small savings account to make necessary repairs and renovations to the children’s room which proved unable to protect against the scale of the destruction. Without a small but necessary increase in funding from local townships, the library is being threatened with closure in 2019.
The burst pipe was incredibly old, and the damage incurred as a result of the library’s drastic underfunding leaving all but the most emergency maintenance out of their grasp as small repairs and inspections had to be deferred in favor of keeping the doors open to the public. In fact, they have never been given a budget to perform the annual maintenance that would have helped avoid this disaster. As Library Director Emma H. Beaver wrote:
“Restoration has begun on the process of drying the building. In order to re-open, we'll need to bring in a construction company to begin the repairs - not only on the downstairs bathroom but of the Children's Activity Room too, with multiple holes in the ceiling where the cleaning company needed to let the water out and allow the building to dry. We'll need to also bring in a professional cleaning company to sanitize every inch of the library, taking special care of our children's area, as well as to wash the upstairs carpets which currently make the library smell like a turtle tank as a result of the damage. We'll need to replace a projector, approximately 60 children's books, a couple wooden puzzles, and three large carpets from the Children's Activity Room. Our computer carrels from the public computer lab will also need replaced. Keep in mind the Children's Activity Room is the room we just spent $9.5k on last year to waterproof and renovate.
I think we'll be closed at least two weeks to make sure this is all taken care of - which means our annual Children's Holiday Party scheduled for Wednesday, December 19th will need to find a new home this year. I hope that we're able to get everything together for the program in time - with the library in shambles it will be difficult to find the supplies, crafts, and books that we send home with the kids each year. We've received at least a dozen calls and dozens of visits from patrons who needed to use the library. We're rerouting all of our patrons to other libraries within our network. It breaks our heart that we're having to turn away our patrons and community, especially during a time of year that is typically very busy for our patrons. It's mass chaos right now, but I'm learning a lot about how these situations work. I'm incredibly proud of my staff who handled the situation with aggressive grace and level headedness until I arrived. “
Unfortunately, their building is almost 100 years old. Although more and more issues continue to develop, they are not receiving the financial assistance they need from the local townships to allow them to maintain the building. In the last year alone, they’ve had broken seals in the roof, flooding in the basement, issues from old plumbing, and peeling paint.
The truth is that the cost of doing business continues to rise. They’ve already seen the cost increase of repairing an old building but they’ve also seen the cost of keeping quality employees rise as other libraries can offer better pay and hours. While many other municipalities have increased their funding by hundreds of dollars in the last year, this small library’s funding has remained stagnant for years.
Without some small increase in funding from local townships, this library is being threatened with closure in 2019.