Library thriving again after historic flooding did extensive dam - WNEM TV 5

Library thriving again after historic flooding did extensive damage

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(Source: WNEM) (Source: WNEM)
MIDLAND COUNTY, MI (WNEM) -

A labor of love is undoing millions of dollars in damage at a Mid-Michigan library.

Last year, historic flooding drenched the materials, but did not dampen the spirit at the Grace A. Dow Memorial Library.

“I mean, we’ve had small leaks like everybody has in a building. But we’ve never had a flood,” said Melissa Barnard, director.

Barnard has spent the past 18 years as the director of the Midland library. She said during that time she has never seen anything like the devastating flooding that hit the library last year.

“We had water that came up through the drains, through the snake creek and through the doors and it flooded the entire lower level, which is approximately 38,000 square feet,” Barnard said.

She said the total cost of damage is estimated at $1.5 million, but just one year later the lower level is back up and running.

That damage was so extensive that some spaces had to be completely rebuilt from the ground up.

“They took out the furniture, the shelving, the books. They really stripped the whole lower level down,” Barnard said.

All that hard work seems to be paying off.

“We’re just super excited to have the library back open,” said Janeen Whitmer, mom.

Whitmer and her children said they come to the library often and it’s nice to have their own space available again.

“I really like it because there are so many books down here than upstairs. And more varieties and stuff like that,” 10-year-old Addison Whitmer said.

Barnard said she is grateful for the support that came pouring in from across Midland County to help cover the cost of the repairs.

“There was a lot of community support that came forward to make sure that we could bring the lower level back,” she said.

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