Altoona library reopens first floor to public

Local News

ALTOONA, Pa. (WTAJ) — The Altoona Area Public Library is opening its first floor to the public after the building was damaged in a water line break in December 2020.

The ground floor sustained major water damage after it flooded with about four feet of water.

Executive Director Jennifer Knisely said that even though much of the ground floor is still under reconstruction, the library felt it was important to open the first floor to the public. The first floor holds the adult fiction, nonfiction, and computer labs.

The children’s section of the library is still sorting and placing books back on the shelves. Knisley does not have a timeline for when that task will be complete. Knisley says that the community is excited to have their library reopened again.

“Eight months is a long time for the public library to be closed,” Knisley said. “And we’re fortunate enough to have an auxiliary site at the Transportation Center downtown. But a lot of our patrons and regulars are excited to be back at the Fifth Ave location as well.”

Knisley had hoped to have the library be fully reopened in time for the school year. But placing books back onto shelves is a big task. The team has to go through almost 500 boxes of children’s books before they’re ‘shelf-ready.’

“I had hoped to be open, fully open prior to school starting,” Knisely said. “But unpacking these boxes is a gigantic task, and it’s very labor-intensive and very time intensive as well.”

The first floor will be open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The library opened a temporary site for readers at the Altoona Transportation Center in February to continue operations during repairs.

Until the library is fully reopened, visitors can still visit the temporary site at the Transportation Center Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

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