Hopkinton library services available at Slusser Center

  • The donated cart for Hopkinton library books sits in front of the Slusser Center library rack. Book returns left in boxes are now available for check-out. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

  • Hopkinton reference librarian Karen Dixon puts book returns onto the donated cart in the basement of the Slusser Senior Center on Friday, August 17, 2018. Dixon went and picked up the returns left in town. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Hopkinton reference librarian Karen Dixon scans returned books into the system in the basement of the Slusser Senior Center on Friday, August 17, 2018. Dixon picked up returns from around town and made them ready for checkout since they were uneffected by the fire two weeks ago. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

Monitor staff
Published: 8/17/2018 1:23:04 PM

The Hopkinton Town Library is open for business again, albeit in the basement of a building next door with just a fraction of its materials to loan.

Hopkinton reference librarian Karen Dixon collected hundreds of returned items – including fiction, nonfiction and kids books, along with movies and audiobooks – from the drop-off spot at Town Hall, which are now available to borrow from the lower level of the Slusser Center, next door to the library.

Even though the full library is still closed as it undergoes repairs following a fire on Aug. 3, it’s good to reopen to the public, even in a limited capacity, Dixon said.

“The best thing is to see our regulars again. They come in and bring us cookies,” Dixon said. “That’s what libraries are about – interactions with the people.”

The limited circulation of 600 to 700 books – occupying a cart and a few shelves – is a far cry from the library’s total 40,0000-volume collection, much of which is currently in storage in Bow. Some of the books that have returned – like The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah and The President is Missing by Bill Clinton and James Patterson – are popular titles available to be checked out again.

“They won’t have the selection we had before, but they can definitely come down and see us,” Dixon said.

All of the library’s online services are fully functional, including downloadable ebooks and audiobooks, Consumer Reports online, and online courses, Library Director Donna Dunlop said. Patrons can still check out a museum pass, request materials via interlibrary loan, and attend library discussions.

The library closed in early August when a lightning strike triggered a fire in the cupola of the building. Parts of the ceiling collapsed as firefighters worked to put out the blaze. The sprinkler system soaked the books and furniture, but many items were affected by the smoke.

Workers have been tasked with the time-consuming job of figuring out what needs to be replaced, and what can be saved.

On Friday, most of the furniture was removed from the building as clean-up and repair efforts continue, Dunlop said. Next steps include inspecting the ceiling and insulation to determine how much needs to be replaced. Dunlop said the town is taking bids from contractors to repair the building.

The library is expected to be closed for several months while the fire-related damage is repaired.

“Bottom line, we are incredibly thankful for the outpouring of support from our community and neighboring towns,” Dunlop said. “It is an inspiration for me and my staff as we work daily to restore services.”

The neighboring communities of Concord, Dunbarton, Hillsborough, Warner, Weare and Webster have all made their libraries’ resources available to Hopkinton and Contoocook residents.

In Henniker, both the town and New England College offered up their libraries.

Hopkinton library staff will be available at the Slusser Center on Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. For more information, visit the library’s website at hopkintontownlibrary.org.

“We encourage people to visit us in the basement of the Slusser Center, or to call or email,” Dunlop said. “We are open for business.”

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