Officials in the Niagara County Village of Barker are still determining what it will take to rebuild the village hall and library. They were both housed in the same historic building destroyed by fire early Monday morning.
"Essentially the entire building is a complete loss—our collection, the village's historical documents, furniture, everything," said Seanna Corwin-Bradley, a Barker village trustee and president of the Barker Library Board.
Corwin-Bradley says the library had more than 18,000 hardcover books in its collection, along with paintings and pictures of the old village. It has about 535 residents and she says the library was the center of the community.
"We had a great summer reading program for kids. The children at Pratt Elementary walked down to the library pretty frequently. It is a small village but we do have quite a few families with small children who utilize the library frequently," said Corwin-Bradley.
She adds residents could also use computers, the internet, and WiFi.
"They were utilized very frequently. There was a children's room, a play area, space for meetings in the back. So a lot of community groups did use the library as a meeting place," Corwin-Bradley said.
The village is still working with its insurance carriers to figure out what will be covered. Corwin-Bradley says the main focus now is finding a temporary space where patrons can return library items and access materials in the Niagara, Orleans, Genesee County Library system.