The Rockingham Free Public Library (FRPL) on Westminster Street in Bellows Falls, Vermont suffered major flood damage on Sunday night after a pipe burst in the older sections of the building. The flood was not discovered until the following day. Fortunately, the library has flood insurance, but the total cost of the damage is still unknown.
Built in 1909, the RFPL is one of four Vermont libraries built with Andrew Carnegie’s funds. Additions were added to the original building in 1929 and 1968. The library as a whole, however, has not had any renovations completed due to a lack of funds. Consequently, some of the pipes and electrical wires are more than 100 years old. The burst pipe is a testament to the need of building updates.
The section of the RFPL that experienced the most damage was the Local History Room, located in the middle of the building. This room included historical books from Rockingham and the state of Vermont, as well as research materials, framed prints, historical photographs and genealogy books. A library representative told “The Commons,” “The entire collection was damaged. Pretty much everything got soaked… It is the heart of our library. I hope we can save it.”
A restoration team arrived within hours to begin the flood remediation process, which involved freeze-drying the wet books, water-damaged documents and wet photographs. A vacuum freeze dryer, similar to the one Polygon uses, is most likely being used to help remediate the waterlogged items.
Polygon’s Advanced Capabilities
Polygon has the most sophisticated vacuum freeze dryer in the U.S, as it has the capacity for large or multiple projects. In addition to a four- to eight-day drying cycle, the chamber’s technology has special programs that preserve rare and fragile material with the use of low operating temperatures. The moisture probes and weight scale show the progress of the items drying to prevent over-drying, which can seriously threaten the longevity of paper files and library books. Moreover, the flush tank within the chamber reduces waste by 90 percent.
Learn more about document recovery from water damage.