TIMELINE OF A LIBRARY’S HURRICANE RECOVERY:
Bogue Banks Public Library (NC) and Hurricane Bonnie
Compiled by Susan W. Simpson, Librarian
August & September, 1998
At the end of August, hurricane winds from Bonnie peel back the roof of the multi-story office building housing the Bogue Banks Library, causing water to pour through to the bottom floor.
Library staff members and County officials assess damages and plan for recovery.
After the roof is repaired, water is extracted from the interior walls of the building.
Maola Milk & Ice Cream and Carolina Dairies agree to provide freezer space for the 9,000 volume book collection; about 500 cardboard boxes are purchased. Putting the books in a frost-free sub-freezing environment will prevent further deterioration from mold and mildew. Library employees and members of the Friends of Bogue Banks Library work quickly to wrap each book in freezer paper. Next, the books are packed loosely in the boxes which are then put into the freezers. During this process 241 books are discarded as complete losses.
In the library, wet ceiling tiles are replaced. Inmates lift the bookshelves off the soaked carpet, which is then vacuumed. Wet and damaged supplies, papers, and other library materials are inventoried and discarded. All electronic equipment is dried and tested.
Efforts to keep the library open even for a few hours a day prove impractical. Bogue Banks Library staff are reassigned to other Carteret County libraries.
Library employees continue gathering estimates on damages and losses. Replacements for the damaged electronic equipment are ordered. Some of the damaged shelving and furniture is removed. Door frames, warped from moisture, are repaired. The library walls are painted.
Preliminary estimates are made on replacing the damaged furnishings.
The library is closed to the public, but the outdoor book return remains available. The trading post paperback collection, which survives the storm, is moved to the entrance hall to be accessible.
The damaged carpet is removed and new carpet is laid throughout the library. All upholstered library chairs and the sofa are professionally cleaned.
Library staff members meet with County officials and representatives of the insurance company.
New books continue arriving for Bogue Banks Library; these are placed in storage at Carteret County Public Library.
Formal bids are received for replacing the damaged library furnishings.
East Carteret High School employees remove the damaged computer station.
Technicians from Munters Moisture Control Co. arrive and set up equipment to dry the book collection. Inmates retrieve all 473 boxes from cold storage and return them to the library. The books are quickly removed from the boxes and placed on shelves for drying. An additional 358 damaged volumes are found to be beyond repair and are discarded.
Institutional Interiors, Inc. is awarded the contract to replace the damaged library furnishings.
Library staff members continue to examine the books for evidence of water damage or mildew. Next, each volume in the collection is scanned for inventory purposes, then placed in boxes arranged by Dewey Decimal classification in the auditorium.
The audiocassettes are removed from storage, cleaned and examined for damage. Tapes in good condition are placed in the auditorium with the books.
All undamaged electronic equipment, library materials, supplies, files, and furniture are moved into the auditorium as well.
East Carteret High School employees remove the remaining damaged shelving units.
The replacement book and periodical shelving is delivered, unpacked and installed.
The undamaged chairs, tables and sofa are moved back in place and the library system computers and printers are set up.
All books are removed from the boxes and arranged on the new shelving. Additional shifting of the books on the shelves is necessary which means that the entire Bogue Banks book collection has been handled at least 11 times since last August.
The audiocassette display racks are put in place and the tapes are arranged on them. The door counter is re-installed.
A final accounting of losses and damages is delivered to the County.
Friends of Bogue Banks Public Library win a State award as an Outstanding Friends Organization for their help with the recovery efforts at the library.
The library opens to the public for half days.
Damaged wall-cabinets and built-in work counters behind the front desk are removed and disassembled. Mildew and mold, which is found where they were mounted, is cleaned.
Temporary work stations are devised for library employees.
May & June, 1999
The library reopens for regular hours, then closes again for five days as the remaining damaged furniture is removed and the replacement furnishings arrive, including the circulation desk and work room counters and cabinets, and the computer station.
The library finally reopens to the public for regular business. Storytime Programs resume. The Art Gallery reopens with an exhibit by the Carteret County Arts & Crafts Coalition.
Lost and damaged library supplies are replaced.
The 1999 Hurricane Season begins.
Friends of the Bogue Banks Public Library sponsor a Grand Reopening Celebration of the Bogue Banks Public Library.
Library employees begin purchasing books to replace those lost.