By Stephanie Choate
The departure of winter this year should mark the end of roof leaks, high fuel bills and frozen toilets at Dorothy Alling Memorial Library.
Work to fix the deteriorating library roof and improve insulation and energy efficiency began earlier this month, after voters approved a $200,000 bond in 2012.
When temperatures dipped this winter, library staff had to contend with hot water shortages, cold indoor temperatures and frozen bathrooms. In one case, Librarian Marti Fiske said, all three bathrooms were frozen at once, and one of the toilets didn’t thaw out for two days. Ice dams in the roof caused leaks, and the shingles were in poor condition, she said.
Bryan Bergeron of Williston-based Building Energy, which is handling the project, estimated that the library will save $2,500 annually in heating costs. The estimate is based on current fuel prices and what he called a conservative formula from Efficiency Vermont.
“The bigger aspect is (the repairs are) creating longevity for the building itself,” he said. “It’s extending the life of the building.”
Bergeron added that the upgrades will reduce the library’s carbon footprint by 20,500 pounds per year—roughly the equivalent of taking two cars off the roads for a year.
“They’re making a great investment in the future of the town for everyone,” Bergeron said.
On Monday, a cluster of workers perched on the library’s roof, nailing down new shingles and blowing insulation into the attic.
Workers are currently tackling the section of roof by the children’s collection. Library staff have pulled out some of the books, and can access the rest of the collection by request, Fiske said.
After work is completed in the children’s section, workers will move to the adult section and over the circulation desk, which will be temporarily moved to one of the library’s window nooks.
Fiske said the library will be a little chilly and parking will be somewhat affected during the two-month project, but there shouldn’t be any major disruptions for library patrons. Fiske and Bergeron expect work to be wrapped up by mid- to late May.
“Bear with us, it’s going to be totally worth it,” Fiske said.