El Sobrante Library Fire -- Update I attended the MAC meeting last night and Gail McPartland, the Assistant Librarian for Contra Costa County attended to give us an update on the restoration of our library. Right off, she said she didnít have a date for the library to open yet, as they are still determining the extent of the damage. The fire burned 10 feet into the ceiling inside the library, so they know they have a lot of smoke damage and some water damage in the back rear corner next to the parking lot. They think they will have to replace all the ceiling tiles in the library, because they are asbestos tiles. They will be ripping out some of the sheetrock, because they are concerned that there is asbestos insulation between the sheet rock and the exterior siding. They want to take that out too if it is there. The wiring was damaged, and they intend to replace the wiring in the building and upgrade it to current code. They will replace the original electrical panel (parts for original panel no longer made, and they donít want to use used parts) and upgrade it to current code; they need additional wiring to handle higher data transfer loads for the computers in the library, and to improve the IT services for the public. The service desk itself is not ADA compliant, so that will have to be upgraded. The two bathrooms in the back of the library were damaged significantly, and their repair will include upgrading them to be ADA compliant as well. They work with a library design expert, who will hold a public session to get feedback on what we want in our library in due course. Iíll let you know when I find out about that. In a few weeks, they will know the full extent of the damage, whether they have to take all the sheet rock off and replace the insulation, whether the floor tiles are also asbestos and have to be replaced. Then they will have a better idea of the costs. Once they have that knowledge, they will be able to provide at least an initial idea of when the repairs might be complete. Regarding the cause of the fire, the fireman present at the meeting did confirm that the fire was intentionally set. He said that a roll of toilet paper set afire could ignite the porta-potty walls. The repair permit for the library WILL NOT cover any work on the Book House/Community Center, so a separate permit will have to be pulled for that. One idea was floated at the meeting: the owners of the old Adachi nursery were there, and they are open to the idea of using part of that property as a temporary place for a library. I think that sounds quite implausible, myself, but the idea was floated. Also, they are working on increasing the Pinole library hours, which are few. Finally, they want to bring in new, updated books, as our stock was kind of out of date. Think encyclopedias, for example. Someone suggested a seed exchange function for the library, so that may be included somehow. Let me know if you have any questions.
Martha Booz [El Sobrante resident who attended ESMAC meeting 4/11/18]
NOTE: This update was posted on the El Sobrante Next Door email list