SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Workers at the South Charleston Public Library have 40,000 books to organize and re-shelve.

Todd Duncan

The April 2 storm, which produced several tornadoes in West Virginia, ripped off part of the library’s roof and that sent workers scrambling toward the books as the heavy rains came in, SC Public Library Director Todd Duncan said.

“We were in a bit of a panic, we were just trying to save them. We put them all in our auditorium and they are in no particular order,” Duncan said.

The storm destroyed 1,200 books but the water stayed clear of the children’s area.

“We could have lost so many more (books),” Duncan said. “So 12-hundred wasn’t bad. We were pretty fortunate with that.”

The roof has been repaired along with several interior walls. A new tiled floor is in and the shelves have been cleaned. Duncan said they are now beginning to go through the 40,000 books to get them back on the shelves in order which will take the next few weeks.

“At first, you’re just trying to figure out if all the A’s, all the B’s and all the C’s and then we have to put them in shelf order by author and title. It’s a tedious process,” Duncan said.

The library gets calls each day from its patrons asking when they will reopen. The best Duncan can tell them is in two or three weeks.

“I’ve said two weeks a couple of times,” Duncan said.

Duncan sometimes thinks back to April 2 and thinks what could have been.

“The city was here within minutes of it happening. They put together some tarps to filter (the rain) that was coming in and that really saved a lot of books,” Duncan said.

He also credits the work of contractor Servpro.

The library still plans to have its popular summer reading program.

Updates are being posted on the library’s Facebook page.

Leave a Reply