Slowly but surely, the Stowe Free Library’s shelves are filling with books once again.

The shelves were wiped bare of books Dec. 10 when a sprinkler in the library building malfunctioned and covered the floors with about 10 inches of water before Stowe Fire Department firefighters were able to shut it off.

The library’s entire adult collection — more than 16,000 pieces of material — was destroyed, said Cindy Weber, library director.

The library opened a small operation in the Akeley Memorial Building, with a collection of children’s books and offering inter-library loans, until it was able to return to the Helen Day Memorial Building at 90 Pond St. on May 1.

Now, Weber is focusing on rebuilding the collection.

So far, she’s ordered about 1,500 books and audiobooks — about $28,000 worth. The library received about $230,000 from its insurance policy with the Vermont League of Cities and Towns to replace the collection; damage was estimated at $400,000.

Weber expects it will take up to two years for the library’s collection to be fully replenished.

Donations are also coming in for the Stowe Free Library’s annual book sale, and what Weber thinks would suit the library’s collection, she’s taking.

June 15 is the last day to donate books in good condition for the book sale, which begins on the library’s ample porch on July 9.

“I think things are going really, really well. People have been really patient with us,” Weber said. “We continue to buy as fast as we can.”

— Caleigh Cross

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