The Louisville Free Public Library reopened today after more than three weeks of clean up that carted away nearly 90 dumpsters of debris following the August 4th flood.
Mayor Jerry Abramson announced the reopening of the library just after noon along with library director Craig Buthod. The goal was to reopen before Labor Day.
Buthod says the public will have access to the main floor for now.
“The children’s room, the public computers, big parts of the book collection, the periodicals, the librarians’ desk and the check-out functions are all on the main floor,” Buthod says. “So, if there’s something that you need that’s still up in the top stacks, one of the library staff will go up and get it for you.”
The upper floors of the main branch are still not accessible by elevator.
Buthod says the building’s restoration is now entering its second phase.
“The emergency is over,” he says. “We are now going through a more methodical process and procurement processes, like competitive bidding, will dictate the timetable.”
The library sustained nearly $5 million in damage. The restoration will include purchasing new equipment and rebuilding the basement offices and the infrastructure for the telephone and computer systems.
Buthod says most of the renovations will be to replace what was destroyed in the basement.
“We’ll be bringing in all the different trades, everything from the people who put up the walls, the electricians who do the wiring, the computer technicians who do the computer wiring,” Buthod says. “And then we’ll put down flooring and carpet and make this look like an office again.”
Buthod says works to reconstruct basement offices and telephone and computer infrastructure is a big part of the rebuilding phase that he hopes will be done by the end of the year.
He says hundreds of people donated nearly $10,000 to the Library Recovery Fund.