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Billings Public Library children's section close to reopening after water damage

Library children's .jpg
Posted at 9:39 PM, May 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-20 11:56:33-04

The children's section of the Billings Public Library has been closed since Monday, after a pipe for heating did not drain properly during repairs.

"When they were opening up it just kind of let loose and went you know, outside of their buckets and collection system," said Jamie Bratlie, library and facility coordinator.

After repairs and cleanup, that part of the library may soon reopen.

About 2,500 to 3,000 books had to be taken off the shelves.

Some of those have been damaged while others were taken just to check for damage.

The pipes are fixed and an electrician has determined everything is in working order. Library workers have been looking through potentially damaged books.

Bratlie said the fluid, made up partly of a non-toxic chemical named propylene glycol, leaked out onto the books.

"Everything that was on the end of the shelf, were pretty much saturated,," Bratlie said. "And as they came down, it was a splashing. So it just all depends on how close proximity to that those books were where the fluid was coming down out of the heating system."

Many families regularly visit the children section. And there's still a chance to check out books during the closure.

"A majority of our patrons haven't been in," said Allynne Ellis, children's librarian. "The few that have we just remind everybody that you're welcome to put items on hold. And as we can get to the sections in the librarian as we can get to those books. We will get them on the hold, shelf for them, and then hopefully we'll be open soon."

Ellis said while the library is not ready to accept donations, she appreciates the offers.

"It was heartwarming to know that immediately people thought how can we help how can we support you people?" Ellis said. "In fact, there was an email from the state library's today asking if any if there was a fund setup for us yet. You know, we mean a lot to people which is nice."

Bradley and Ellis say everything is fixed except for replacing carpet.

Once that's done, the children's section may reopen by the middle of next week.

They also say the closure will not affect any of the library's programs, including the summer reading program.