LITTLE VALLEY — After last July’s devastating flood, the Memorial Library of Little Valley is up and running again.
To celebrate the reopening, a dedication ceremony and open house was held at the library on Veterans Day, Nov. 11. The public was welcomed in to see the newly remodeled library, located at 110 Rock City St., and enjoy some refreshments.
The ceremony was conducted by the Little Valley AMVETS Post 8735 who dedicated the new flagpole and monument installed near the new parking lot. Library Director Linda McCubbin said the AMVETS had the monument made by Crandall’s Memorials of Olean to honor all the veterans of Little Valley.
“They [AMVETS] paid for everything — the flagpole, the monument and the installation,” she said.
McCubbin said former state senator Catherine Young and others who were instrumental in helping them get the new parking lot and other assistance were unable to attend.
Due to the damage the building sustained when the Little Valley Creek overflowed its banks last Fourth of July weekend, the library has been closed until recently. The Cattaraugus-Little Valley School District allowed the library to store the books at the gym of the former Little Valley school across the street. Immediately after the flood, volunteers moved more than 10,000 books from the library to the old school.
McCubbin said they were thankful that not a single book was lost during the flood. She said only a couple inches of water soaked in a few feet from the 4,200-square-foot building’s walls, but the real damage was done by water that actually came through the walls.
“When the water came down the street, it went under our walls and soaked up into the drywall,” she said. “We had to remove everything from the walls and take two feet off the drywall.”
Some walls, carpets, flooring and bookshelves had to be replaced. A desk and some cabinets that were particleboard had to be thrown out.
With volunteer help, the books were moved back to the library Oct. 19 and placed in the general area of where they belonged. McCubbin said volunteers included Austin Morgan, who was running for state senator, along with Matt Ring and John Hale of Randolph, who were running for county legislator seats.
“Austin came in here and painted for five or six hours,” she said. “We only had two vehicles, so we were happy to have John with his truck, which made it easier to move the books. They all put in a day’s work.”
McCubbin said six staff members from the Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Library System came Oct. 21 to help put all the books back on the shelves correctly.
“We always love and appreciate our volunteers, but we had to make sure that these 10,000 books went back in the right spots on the shelves,” she said. “All the librarians are Masters of Library Science and we got all the adult books back on the shelves that day. It was wonderful. Since then, we’ve been working on getting the children’s books back and organized.”
McCubbin said the baseboards did not get completed until Nov. 2, the day they reopened, and there’s still a lot of work to do. Because they lost some bookcases and furniture, they’re finding places for other things to go now.
“We haven’t actually purchased more furniture, at this point, because we want to find a home for everything, then decide if we need to replace the furniture we lost,” she said.
According to McCubbin, the library had no flood insurance and it’s been a costly expense. She said it cost the library approximately $10,000, but they’ve received a lot of support from the community.
McCubbin said they are back on their feet and looking forward to some fall programs. She said they’re having a reading program for children that begins Dec. 6, through a grant received from the Cattaraugus County Youth Council. Bicycles will be the grand prizes for each age group, and there will be other prizes as well.
“The program was something we were supposed to do this summer, but when the flood happened and we closed, they said go for it in the fall,” she said.
People interested in having their children participate in the reading program should sign up by Nov. 27 by calling the library at 938-6301. McCubbin said the pecans are in for their annual fundraiser, so they will be calling people to deliver them.
(Contact press reporter Deb Everts at email@example.com)