SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The South Charleston Library-goers and staff say it’s great to have the library back open again after being closed down for three months since the early April storm which had caused significant damage to the building.

Library patron Amanda Ream said she’s so glad to see it make a comeback.

“You don’t realize how much you miss something until you don’t have it, and I’ve been spoiled because I work downtown in South Charleston and to be able to walk to my local library is great so I have certainly missed that,” Ream said.

South Charleston Library Director Todd Duncan said it’s great to return to normalcy.

“We’re just excited to let the community back into the building and get back to our normal routine of things,” said Duncan.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held at the library Monday morning to celebrate its reopening and the renovations that were made to the facility.

Duncan said they had over 40,000 books that they had to reshelf as well as having to replace the roof, the ceiling tiles and the floor. He said 1,200 of the books were destroyed when strong winds from the storm came and blew off a portion of the roof, but he said it was fortunate that the 40,000 more they were able to salvage.

“It was a pretty good, I think less than 4-percent that were damaged, so that came out well,” Duncan said.

He said they housed the books in the auditorium until they could get them all sorted through and reorganized.

Duncan said he believes a microburst hit the building during the storm which had caused the roof to give way. He said it left a gaping hole in the roof that had then caused it to flood about three additional times after the damage was done.

Duncan said it took them about a month to replace the roof and $200,000 in repairs.

He said it was shocking to see the damage but they were able to make do for a while as the work to fix it got done.

“I was just in shock, there were waterfalls like in the building, it was just, you know, shocking, but the city and ServePro stepped really quick, they built like these funnel systems out of tarps and we drained them into buckets, so we prevented a lot of additional damage,” he said.

Duncan said being shut down for those three months, it really makes them realize just how much a crucial asset the library is to the community of South Charleston.

“We’re a central hub of the community, we have around 300 people who come in here everyday, coming to our story times, checking out books, accessing computers, we’re just that central hub for the community and I think the community appreciates,” Duncan said.

Ream said she is one of those dedicated patrons who utilize the library whenever she can.

“I’m usually here once a week, especially during the school year to get books for Read Aloud because I read at one of the local elementary schools and I love their children’s section here, and I also get books for myself, especially during the summer when I have a little more free time,” she said.

Ream said while she did venture to downtown Charleston to go to the Kanawha County Public Library some during the three months, which was nice to have that option, she said it just wasn’t the same.

She said the smaller, more intimate South Charleston Library provides more of that homey-feel for her.

“I think it’s the small-town feel that they provide, they do a lot of programming for children as well as adults, so it’s just that community atmosphere that you get from coming to this library,” said Ream.

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