The Edgartown library is suffering from furnace puffback and will be open only during emergency hours of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday next week. Staff have set up temporary quarters in the selectmen’s meeting room at the town hall, with a limited stock of borrowing material.
The library closed its doors Monday.
Puffback, for the uninitiated, is pyrojargon for the sooty fallout from a burst furnace or oil burner. The library furnace burst sometime between when director Felicia Cheney left the building on North Water street last Sunday evening and Monday morning, when technical services librarian Janet Sigler opened up, inadvertently releasing a thin film of oily vapor through the library. “I opened the door to the reference room and I saw a kind of mist and that’s when I dialled 911,” Ms. Sigler recalled, speaking from the temporary digs at the town hall. “It was mounting up and then, when I opened up some of the doors it went whoosh through the building.”
The primary concern is not for the books, which can be easily cleaned, but for the library’s extensive art collection. The library will not know the scale of the problem until Nauset environmental services, hired to assess damage and test air quality, has made its findings, a process which will take seven to ten days. “Then we’ll know if it’s a question of just cleaning books, taking down ceiling tiles or getting rid of furniture,” Ms. Cheney said.
Meanwhile, the library is functioning in a limited capacity. An adult and children’s crafts drop-in will take place as normal from 2 to 4 p.m. on Saturday in the temporary location at town hall.
The temporary telephone number is 508-627-6189.