Thursday, May 03, 2007

Georgetown Library Update

The Washington Post has an update for us today on the status of the Georgetown Public Library, which contains some good news along with the bad. While rebuilding costs are estimated at $15-20 million, Georgetown's mayor has pledged to make those funds available quickly and get the library open again "as quickly as possible."

Even better news about the library's irreplaceable Peabody Room collections of materials related to the history of Georgetown; "Perhaps 80 percent of the collection, housed on the library's east side, suffered far less harm than initially feared. The ceiling there held, and the archives escaped smoke and flames." Chief librarian Ginny Cooper told the Post "The material is wet but not burned. We can deal with wet."

The case of the conflagration remains undetermined but the Post report says that officials believe it to have been accidental, probably something electrical.

Damaged materials are headed for places where they can be carefully restored: rare items have gone to the Smithsonian, while a freezer truck has taken other items to the Belfor Property Restoration complex in Fort Worth, Texas for "freeze-drying."

It could have been worse, I guess. Still an awful thing any way you slice it, but at least many of the items thought lost forever managed to escape the flames after all.