Around the one year anniversary of the catastrophic flooding from Hurricane Ida, Kathleen Reigelhaupt provided an update to the community. (https://myrye.com/my_weblog/2022/09/letter-rye-library-one-year-after-ida-flood.html).
Like many of you, we’ve been watching the weather forecasts this summer with extra attention, given the frequency of thunderstorms and flash flood warnings. In fact, anticipating up to 7 inches of rain on Sunday, July 16th, we executed our emergency flood preparations, moving collections, shifting books, and installing flood barriers throughout the library. Fortunately, that storm passed by with nominal rain, and no flooding.
The Board of Trustees would like to take this opportunity to share both our progress to date and the intermediate steps being taken this month to protect the library collections, which were restored thanks to generous donations from members of our community. We are working to ensure that the library is able to serve our wonderful community every day and remains intact even when it floods.
- Strategic long-term flood plan: Skolnick Architecture + Design and TMS Waterfront Solutions, library design and water-resilient engineering experts, have completed the contracts to review our building and provide recommendations for resiliency. We have also commissioned and received an engineering study for the ground and the seawall behind the library. These reports have made it clear that reinforcing the seawall behind the library is a critical step in ensuring that the building’s infrastructure is sound. The Board of Trustees is reviewing the final reports, and will be working with stakeholders on designs, planning, grants, and fundraising.
- Intermediate Steps: While we plan for the future, there are additional intermediate steps that we are taking to protect the building and collections. Starting this week, we will be shifting certain library collections to new spaces to provide additional clearance on the lower level in case of flood. The biggest move will be the relocation of the children’s collections from the lower level to the first floor. This change will allow us to continue to shelve materials in easy reach for our youngest readers and learners, without the danger of water damage. The teen collections will be moved downstairs and installed on new shelving units four feet off the floor. That four-foot line is the estimated flood height for 100-year flood events and should help ensure the teen collections remain safe in case of flooding. You can find more information on our website at https://www.ryelibrary.org/spacesupdate/
This is only the next step in our long-term process of solving the tremendous threat of Blind Brook flooding. We look forward to future conversations with you about how we can respect the beautiful spaces of the library while preserving them from water intrusion, all while serving our amazing Rye community.
Thank you for treasuring the library, and for your support. See you in the library again soon!
Kirstin Bucci, President
Rye Free Reading Room Board of Trustees