State College, PA - Centre County - Central Pennsylvania - Home of Penn State University

Schlow Library Reopens After Two Week Closure

by on March 03, 2015 6:00 AM

For the first time in two weeks, it was almost business as usual for the Schlow Centre Region Library. 

The library closed after a frozen pipe burst open on Feb. 16, partially flooding the library and damaging roughly 1,500 books beyond repair. After being forced to delay reopening several times, Schlow finally opened its doors back up on Monday.

“It feels really good, even if we’re not quite 100 percent yet,” says Schlow office manager DJ Lilly. “Out art gallery and community room is still closed until the end of the week while construction crews work on repairs.”

She says the library had originally intended to open sooner, but staff discovered that pipes were freezing in several places due to the “extreme and constant cold.”

Lilly says the library has identified several “weak spots” in the piping system and is now looking into ways to prevent pipes from freezing or bursting again in the future. She says contractors will examine the library’s heating and piping systems to pinpoint any problems and make recommendations.

“I’m just happy the library is open again,” says visiting Penn State scholar and frequent library patron Sam Du. “This is more than just a library, it’s a community.”

The Asian studies scholar explains she’s only been in State College since January, and the library has played a big part in making her feel connected to the town. She’s joined the library book club, and says she enjoys having somewhere in town where she can come to relax.

Du also says the library has been helpful for her daughter, “who can spend an afternoon, even a whole day” exploring the children’s section. She says Schlow’s selection of children’s books is helping her daughter become more proficient using English as her second language.

State College resident Chuck Paulson is also happy to have Schlow open again. Every day around noon, he says he takes a little walk around town, which almost always leads him to the library.

“There are so many resources here,” Paulson says. “There aren’t just books; there are videos, and audiobooks and computer stations and free Internet. It’s really underutilized, I think.”

Even though the building has reopened, Lilly says that Schlow staffers still have plenty to do before the library is fully operational. She says employees have to work through a backlog of reservations and book requests, which may lead to longer wait times than normal.

Lilly also says the library is still working with its insurance company to determine the extent of the damage, which she was unable to estimate in a dollar amount. She’s unsure how long it will take to replace the numerous biographies, young adult fiction titles and educational toys that were destroyed.

“The biggest thing we’re asking for from our patrons is patience,” she says. “There are long-term effects that we’re dealing with.”


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Michael Martin Garrett is a reporter and editor for who covers local government, the courts, the arts and writes the Keeping the Faith column. He's a Penn State alumnus, a published poet and the bassist in a local indie rock band.
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