UH Library reopens flood-damaged areas

Youth services staff welcomed customers back to the repaired children's room on July 6.

On July 6, Heights Libraries’ University Heights branch officially reopened its lower level, home to its Teen and Children’s departments, which had been closed since August 2022 due to damage caused by flooding. The flooding destroyed flooring, walls, and built-in furniture, rendering the space unusable.

The library hired construction company Millstone Management Group to perform the renovation work, after Neptune Plumbing installed new clean-out drains in the space to prevent future flooding.

“Several engineers were consulted and all agreed that there was nothing structurally wrong with our building, the storm sewers, or the water lines around our building,” said University Heights Branch Manager Sara Phillips. “It was a freak incident, a perfect storm of factors, like days of heavy rain and concurrent roadwork, but regardless, we’ll be in good shape if anything like it ever happens again.”

Millstone was able to return the popular space to its previous layout, and the flooring has been updated with more durable materials that should last for years to come.

The children’s service desk and all lower cabinetry are all brand new, while other, movable furniture, such as tables and chairs, were saved. The popular murals, created by local award-winning artist Jamey Christoph, were reprinted and reinstalled.

“We had about 15 people waiting at the door the day we reopened the space, including two tween boys who were very excited to learn that the teen area was reopened,” said Phillips. “Youth services staff are beyond thrilled to have the full collection back, and are looking forward to holding storytime in a dedicated space again.”

Phillips added that she appreciates how patient customers have been during the lower-level closure, and how creative and flexible the staff were during the past year. Staff moved the entire teen and children’s collections to the branch’s meeting rooms, and held storytimes in a makeshift area on the first floor and at nearby Walter Stinson Park.

All cleaning and repair costs were covered by the library’s insurance.

Sheryl Banks

Sheryl Banks is the communications manager for the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library System.

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Volume 16, Issue 8, Posted 11:52 AM, 07.10.2023