Rebecca Reichert walked into the newly opened Brookfield Branch Library to applause from the library staff. As she got to the front desk, she put her hands on her hips and gave a disapproving look.
“Some people will do anything for time off,” she said.
The library, a branch of the Warren-Trumbull County Public Library, reopened May 30, having been closed since Christmastime, when broken water pipes flooded the building.
“I’m deliriously happy,” Reichert said of the reopening, as she browsed through videos. “All along, we thought it would just be a month or two months. It kind of stretched out.”
Library officials didn’t just patch up the damage, although they replaced the drywall, ceiling tiles, carpeting, some furniture and the circulation desk. They also used the shutdown as an opportunity to rethink the layout and make changes to make better use of the space. A window was added in the vestibule to bring more sunlight into the library, and the adult section was opened up to allow for more space and also to house programs.
“This was a great opportunity to update it and make it really more modern looking,” said library Manager Amanda Murphy.
The renovation cost was $344,000, half of which was paid by insurance, said library system spokesman Cheryl Bush.
“We did take this opportunity to upgrade some of the plumbing and some of those kinds of things,” Bush said. “That price also includes improvements to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
The book, CD and video collection was not damaged, but a large trove of new material that came in during the shutdown is now available to the public.
The computer terminals are back, and the library also has laptops that patrons can use on site.
“The improvements are just so pretty,” Murphy said. “I’m real excited to see what our patrons have to say about all the new things.”
Reichert said she liked the changes, but was just happy to have her library and its “tremendous” staff back.
“It’s just a wonderful place,” she said.
The library reopened just in time for the start of the Summer Reading Program, which this year has the theme of “All Together Now.”
“It focuses on working together to help the community, and features kindness and unity,” Bush said. “One of the nice community ties-ins is that, for every children’s and teen’s reading log that is completed, the Friends of the Warren Library are gonna donate $1 to the Animal Welfare League of Trumbull County. Our goal is to have at least 1,000 children and teens complete their reading logs to make that donation.”
The library will hold a reopening celebration from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. July 22 with Outback Ray appearing at 11 a.m.