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THERE ARE NO books left in the Roscoe Free Library – just bookcases and other items they hope to save (like the little tikes’ chair atop the desk). The microfiche machine might be saved, and thankfully the microfilm of historic local newspapers was all upstairs in the office – far from the waters.

Library Will Return,
Promises Director

By Jeanne Sager
ROSCOE — July 11, 2006 – There’s a library in Roscoe – such as it is.
With the building on Highland Avenue closed “indefinitely,” Realtor Elwin “Woody” Wood opened the doors to a space in the Dreher building on Stewart Avenue Friday.
While workers gutted the flooded-out facility, Director Judie Smith was busy moving what little she has left to Roscoe’s main drag.
“At least people can drop books off,” she said with a shrug.
It doesn’t sound like much, but it’s the one way Smith can guarantee the people of Roscoe will have a library this summer.
Last April, when the library filled with 3 feet of water, it took three months to reopen.
On June 28, the facility was flooded with 5 feet of water that came up in minutes.
While Smith worked feverishly to unplug computers and hoist books onto high shelves, a neighbor called the fire department to take a boat down Highland Avenue and get her out.
At least a portion of her work paid off – everything on the top two shelves of the main section made it out, except in the places where the bookshelves toppled over.
Gone are the audiobooks and videos, but the DVDs and CDs were saved, and the computers have been shipped off to the Ramapo-Catskill Library System (RCLS) headquarters in Middletown to be dried out.
The hope, Smith said, is that the computers can be turned on once all the water dries out.
Whether the silt carried in by the waters will affect the motherboards remains to be seen, but she’s keeping her fingers crossed.
“Now they’re thinking, with the mud . . . they’re not so sure,” Smith said. “But you never know.
“For now they’re going to bring us a few temporary ones.”
She’s already sadly tossed everything that was in the children’s room.
Created after a catastrophe five years ago when a truck driver suffered a heart attack on Route 17 and crashed through the side of the library, the children’s room was a new addition built just a few years ago.
Because everything was set up on low shelves where small hands could easily reach them, the books and other materials were all covered by the water.
One plastic bin of crayons was saved – miraculously, that floated in the library’s own Beaverkill Creek.
But the loss of books and the loss of the library are a “severe blow” to the Roscoe community.
“It’s three months out of the summer,” Smith said. “That’s when we’re busy – the kids are out of school, and our visitors are very good donors.”
The library sees a lot of campers dropping in to check their e-mail during the summer and fishermen’s wives stopping by to check out a few paperbacks.
Smith said setting up in the Dreher building should at least allow the community a spot to use the Internet – Library Board President Louise Eggleton has been working to get ahold of Time Warner Cable to get another hook-up to the Internet and the RCLS database up and running.
That’s expected to be in place by Thursday of this week, although Smith is still trying to get a phone line brought in.
Smith said folks who are flooded out and need extra information about the FEMA process will then be able to go online right from the library – free of charge.
Once the RCLS system is accessible, people will also be able to order books and movies via the inter-library-loan program.
A delivery of several boxes came in Monday – orders placed before the flood that Smith will make available to patrons by checking on the Livingston Manor library’s computer to determine who is looking for them!
Anyone who has items on loan from the library should drop them off at the Dreher building – located between Bank of America and Morningstar Creations on Stewart Avenue – so Smith can begin taking stock of what the library still has in its own collection.
Donations will be accepted, but Smith is asking people to hold off until there’s a space open in the library home on Highland Avenue.
“To store books without shelves is hard,” Smith explained. “If they want to know anything about donations, they need to ask first.”
She’s trying to get some shelving units set up, but a large number of the wooden bookcases are warped and unstable.
“We’re probably going to have to replace an awful lot of bookcases,” Smith said.
Plywood would be a good donation, she said, along with books that haven’t suffered from the flood themselves.
Mildewy books cannot be accepted – especially as the mildew would spread to other books.
Paperbacks are the best things to drop off at the moment, she said, because the library can set them out for people to borrow and not worry as much about ensuring their return.
Last year, insurance covered the book losses, but Smith doesn’t know what the company will say this year.
Most of the walls have to be ripped down to the studs, and Smith doesn’t know if they’ll again qualify for the $10,000 grant secured by State Senator John Bonacic after the April flood.
“We’re going to apply for the grants we’re eligible for,” Smith said.
The current plan is to bring the building back in as short a time as possible.
Steve Melchick is doing the work, but he has to fit the library in during his busiest season – the last flood closed the library for three months, but that happened when carpenters were more readily available.
This time, Smith doesn’t know what will happen.
But the Roscoe Free Library will be back, she said.
“We have talked about moving it, but where?” Smith asked. “This building was built for us as a library in 1979.
“You need a library near the middle of town,” she explained.
The Roscoe building is near the school.
“We always know it’s quarter to three – they’re at the door, flying down the hill,” Smith said with a laugh.
It’s close enough for people to walk down after dropping their clothes in the washer at the laundromat or leaving their car to be serviced at Kirchner’s.
This flood was worse than the last, but the library used the truck accident as an excuse to build an addition and they used the April flood as a learning experience.
This flood, well, it’s water under the bridge for Smith.
Now she’s focused on opening up 46 Stewart Avenue at least on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. next week. Other hours will be posted as the library gets back on its feet.
Help can be sent to the Roscoe Free Library, P.O. Box 339, Roscoe, NY 12776, and the public is invited to a meeting of the board of trustees on July 19 at 7 p.m.

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