HomeHaddonfield NewsHaddonfield Public Library recovers from storms ahead of schedule

Haddonfield Public Library recovers from storms ahead of schedule

Basement area, affected most, fully operational a month earlier than planned.

The children’s program room and other basement areas of the Haddonfield Public Library affected by stormwater last month are open for business – despite the periodic but relentless storms that have battered the region since then. 

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“In the initial hours after the (June 20) storm, we got to the water, and got it up and removed. (Borough administrator) Sharon McCullough came to visit us with somebody from the Office of Emergency Management. We did further testing and we found out that (water) hadn’t gone up the walls any higher in the areas where we had removed already, and none of the other walls were affected,” explained library director Eric Zino.

“So the strategy changed to one where all we had to do was run the dryers/dehumidifers down there (in the children’s program room). We ran them in those rooms from June 22 through July 8.”

While repairs were ongoing, Zino reached out to the Cherry Hill Public Library, which was kind enough to provide Haddonfield children with temporary library cards. That agreement was expected to last one month, but has been extended. 

“This is the most important time for reading for kids; it’s one of the highest circulation times for us, and also for Cherry Hill. As with any public library, summers are the busiest. So, they were happy to allow our community to get temporary cards to lend from that library, which are good through Aug. 1. What made that especially cool is that they absorbed their increased traffic plus ours.”

When Zino provided The Sun with an update regarding damage from the initial storm on June 26, he anticipated a worst-case scenario that everything would not be back to normal for two to three months. However, at that time, he did intimate that a July 8 reopening wasn’t out of the question – and that prediction ended up being one day off. 

“All of us showed up to take meetings on July 8 and all indications were that the floors and the walls were completely dry,” Zino explained. 

“AllRisk collected its equipment, removed their dryers and we commenced to putting the collection that we boxed up for safe keeping back on the shelves. We took the day of July 8 to do all that, then we announced (on various social media channels) that we would be opening back up on July 9. All meetings were back in their original place.”

In addition, before the basement’s official re-opening, Zino said the entire building was tested for mold growth, and it all came back with a clear report.

Unlike certain residences throughout the borough, the library has been lucky to survive with minimal interruptions as three more storm systems roared through Haddonfield since the original incident. 

“I believe this was because the ground was still saturated, but the storm that we had overnight on July 11, we got a little bit of water in the childrens’ collection room. It was limited. We got it out right away, AllRise came back and put driers in the four spots where the water was, and we came back completely dry again, all the readings were dry, as of July 15,” Zino stated. 

“I think the reason we didn’t see any water (from the evening storm on July 22) is because – and I’m not a meteorologist – the ground around us has had time to dry out plus the heat has had an effect were things got a bit more normal.”

As it was during the June 20 storm and subsequent rain events, Zino said the ground and upper levels of the library after the most recent downpour were unaffected, and business has proceeded as normal. 

Former radio broadcaster, hockey writer, Current: main beat reporter for Haddonfield, Cherry Hill and points beyond.

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