The student-run community news site of Vermont State University - Johnson

Basement Medicine

The student-run community news site of Vermont State University - Johnson

Basement Medicine

The student-run community news site of Vermont State University - Johnson

Basement Medicine

Back from the flood: Johnsons new (temp) library

Back+from+the+flood%3A+Johnsons+new+%28temp%29+library

The aftermath of the July 10-11 flood is still affecting the community of Johnson. Many of the town’s businesses and buildings are still recovering financially and physically. The Johnson Public Library (JPL), located on Railroad Street, had water fill the entirety of the basement and reach the books up on the main floor. The building has sat idle since, which raises the question: does Johnson even have a public library anymore?

Despite the damages, a group of dedicated Johnson volunteers were able to provide the books and the library community a temporary home. Volunteers packed up the majority of the books from the basement right before the flood. After flood waters reached the main floor, which hasn’t happened since 1927, they returned two days later to box up and move what was left. Most of the collection was able to be salvaged and relocated to the downstairs of the Masonic lodge, the big white building on the corner of Main and Pearl Streets.

“The outpouring of volunteers who came in help was amazing,” said Kirsten MacDowell, the Youth Services Librarian at JPL.
“Hours and hours of people’s labor to do all that, and having so many people help box up books, it’s a really neat resource to have. People are willing to help in the community and show their support and willingness to make the library happen.”
The re-opening comes as a relief both to those who relied on the library resources, such as the books and internet access, and to those who belong to the close-knit library community, including library patrons and staff.
Some of the community events MacDowell had hosted in the old building included teen nights, after school programs, and arts and crafts sessions. There was something new to do every week, from movie nights, to slime making, to tie-dying. The events were completely free, and all ages were encouraged to join.

Unfortunately, these events have come to a halt because of the smaller size of the new building. MacDowell said she hopes to start these activities back up once repairs to the original building are completed. She said she doesn’t know when the renovations will begin on the original building. The volunteers were able to get the relocation work done, leaving just construction work to be done at the town’s discretion.

“The bricks are original, and they are still good, supposedly, but there is a lot of work that needs to be done to make it ready to be a library again,” MacDowell said.

Despite the smaller space, the temporary library offers more than just books. Stop by and ask about their e-book and audiobook selections, and the local museum and park passes they offer for simply picking up a book! Coupons and/or full day passes are offered for Shelburne Museum, Shelburne Farms, ECHO Aquarium, Fairbanks Planetarium, and any Vermont state parks or historical sites.

Looking for a new book to flip through? Support Johnson’s new library and stop by!

The library’s hours are:
Sun/Mon – closed
Tues/Thurs/Fri – 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Wednesday-11 a.m. -6 p.m.
Saturday-10 a.m. – 1 p.m.

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About the Contributor
Mik Crane, Staff Writer
Mik Crane (she/her) is an undeclared early college student who fled to VTSU-Johnson to escape her soul-crushing high school. She loves writing, snowboarding, and hanging out with her white crusty dog, Theodore Benson.