Safety Concern Threatens Pugwash Library
While Cumberland County has a plan in place for a new library in Pugwash, the chief librarian for the county’s public libraries says they might not be able to wait. Denise Corey told the Village Commission last night, “I have real concerns about the train station, real concerns about safety.”
Her concerns stem from much needed repairs to the old heritage building, which is the property of the village. Corey says, “If something goes wrong I may have to pull the library out of that building.”
The librarian points to a heat vent and plaster which fell from the ceiling about a year ago. The debris fell in an area where people could have been browsing books. Luckily nobody was in that area at the time.
Corey says there are areas with large cracks in the walls, places with missing mortar between the brick exterior. That makes it draft and the chief librarian says her staff wears long johns and three sweaters on cold winter days. She added, “We’re keeping an eye on it, but I wanted to be on record that we may have to close that facility.”
Recent work has given the station a new roof, and earlier repairs included new heat and air conditioning, some drywall and floor joists, but much needs to be done.
Commissioner Dave Farley expressed his concern about the building. He said,”I am reluctant to put money into the station if its future is in doubt.” He agreed the village should do a facility review before spending more money on the structure.
Clash of Administrators
When the chief librarian listed her concerns, The village’s clerk-treasurer tried to offer some assurance about the structure. Lisa Betts noted some of the repairs that have recently been completed and started to explain some aspects of a report from a structural engineer. Corey interrupted saying, “I am not here to debate the train station, I am here to report to the commissioners.” The two had clearly debated the issue before and both remain steadfast in their opposing views on the security of the structure.
The library opened in the train station in 1988, but Corey says numerous reports suggest they have wanted out of there since 1992. She says they need more space to expand services and she believes very strongly that a new and expanded facility will attract many more library users.
All agreed that they want to keep the library in operation. The librarian said the Pugwash facility is regularly in the top three libraries in the county in terms of usage. Corey said there are 860 active, regular users at the station. She noted, “This is a town that really enjoys their reading, it is a literate town.”
The county purchased the Benjamin property on Durham street in June as the proposed site for a new multi-purpose centre, largely anchored by a new library. However, there is no immediate plan for that facility so there is no timeline for the book repository’s transition. Corey hopes for a quick decision and early construction, but fears they may not be able to wait.