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Director's Column

PLSJC Director Alan Hall writes a weekly column discussing library and community news, history, and other interesting subjects.

The Roof

By Alan Hall, Director, PLSJ
Publish Date - Sunday, October 21, 2018


About 3 times a day, I make an inspection of the work underway on the Main Library ADA renovation and construction project.


I look for the progress being made, how it compares to the plans and intentions of the project and for any changes or alterations needing made.


I chat with the workers, check with the construction supervisor, and attend construction meetings with the contractor and architect.


The new Main Library complex belongs to everyone and will serve our community for years to come; after all the original building is approaching 117 years old.


One area that I had not ventured was the new flat roof that is between the two steep pitched roof units on the new structure.


In my 48 years of working in libraries, I have dealt with several “flat roofs” and the problems associated with their structures; particularly one roof years ago clogged with ice causing severe leaks into the building.


A much younger Alan climbed onto that roof, and removed the offending ice chunk and threw it to the ground below, only to see that the roofing material went with it into the yard of the library.


Now in my mid-60s, I only wanted to “see” the new flat roof section, but not “do” anything to the roof.


I climbed the roof access system and got onto the top of the 2-story area only to be disappointed by the lack of a view except for the steep roof of the Carnegie building, and narrow openings here and there.


I was pleased to find that the new flat roof wasn’t really flat, it slopes gently allowing water to drain across the rubber membrane to the large drains taking water away.


The heating and air conditioning unit for the new building sits on top of the flat area, covered in view from below by the peaked roof units and a wall pretending to be a roof.


The new building nestles against the Carnegie building in just one area, and the 1902 stonework provided a nice “seat” to take in the view and watch the masons install the brickwork on the gable end of the new building.


They went about their work, probably wondering if that librarian planned to sit and “watch” their trade as they skillfully laid the bricks.


I walked around the new elevator shaft that extends about 5 ft. above the roof line ----- after all this is an important part of the whole project, making the library ADA accessible for the first time in its 117 year history.


The large AC condensing unit sits on the roof on steel I-beams designed into the building.


The Carnegie building will continue to use its steam boiler system for heat and a new AC system for the lower level and the existing system for the 1st floor.


My return trip down the ladder seemed a bit more ominous but successful.


It is interesting to watch the construction as it progresses and what has been planned for years becomes a reality.