Bilton Library forced to close temporarily after "major" overnight flood

Damage at Bilton Library (s)

Damage at Bilton Library (s)

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A "major" overnight flood at Bilton Library has forced the building to temporarily close.

Library volunteers were shocked to discover this morning (January 4) that flood water had caused "considerable damage" to the carpets and the electrics.

Damage at Bilton Library (s)

Damage at Bilton Library (s)

Contractors from North Yorkshire County Council revealed that a joint had blown overnight on the pipe leading to the boiler, causing it to burst.

As well as soaking the library carpets, the flood water has also caused damage to the building's offices and meeting rooms as well as the children's centre.

Greta Knight, chair of Trustees at the Library, said she was close to tears when she saw the damage and the library would be closed until January 16 at the earliest.

She said: "Water has been pouring out from the boiler non stop from last night until 7.30 this morning and the library has taken the brunt of the damage.

Damage at Bilton Library (s)

Damage at Bilton Library (s)

"Thankfully the stock of books has not been damaged as they were on shelves above the water levels and very little of what we provide ourselves has been damaged.

"We are a community run library so are obviously community funded. Everyone has worked so hard to get the library up and running so to see the water standing there was difficult to take.

"It's not the start to the New Year we would have wanted and to say that I could have sat down and cried when I saw the damage is an understatement.

County council contractors have brought in industrial machines to suck up the water as well as dehumidifiers for the rest of the building.

However, classes including Chat and Craft, Storytime Tuesday, the Reading Group, Scrabble Fridays and a beginner's computer class have all been forced to postpone.

Anne Richards, secretary of the Steering Group at the library, also warned that plans for their celebration of National Library Day on February 4 were also in jeopardy.

She said: "It's upsetting because we have worked very hard to build up the library since it became community run in 2012.

"We thought we would give it a go running it ourselves and we have pulled it off and been very successful. But all that hard work has almost been undone.

"It's disappointing to see all the damage that has been done and we're worried that all the people that go to a different library during this time will not come back.

"We don't make any money but we still need people coming through the door to make it viable. If people don't use it then the county council may say their investment is not justified."

Ms Knight said that anyone with books that need to be returned can be done so at any of the libraries across the district or online.

She said: "What's more upsetting than the damage is the amount of people who now can't access the library and that we can't deliver our high quality classes.

"We had a good year last year and were looking forward to this big event to celebrate National Libraries Day. But all of a sudden it's been put in jeporady. It's been a case of one step forward and two steps back."