Library on the rebound

Frothingham Free Library patrons look at baskets for its Taste of Chocolate & Basket Fundraiser which will be held at St. Cecilia’s Church Hall, 26 Broadway in Fonda, on Saturday at 6 p.m. (Photo submitted)

FONDA — The Frothingham Free Library is landing back on its feet after enduring a week of misfortune over the summer, resulting in a temporary shutdown. From suffering damage due to a neighboring fire, to water damage from a broken water tank valve, the library is a true testament to the term resilient. Library Director Sherri Kirschman said, “amazingly,” the library only lost one book. She said that is in part due to its dedicated staff and supportive community.

“We had a lot of people working to save what we could, and to get things back to being able to reopen,” said Kirschman.

This weekend, the library will hold their biggest annual fundraiser, The Taste of Chocolate Festival. Kirschman says the event will be particularly important this year, as the library continues to make necessary repairs. The evening will include chocolate treats, beverages including tea, coffee, and soda water, along with live musical entertainment. Gift baskets are currently displayed at the library, where tickets may also be purchased. Kirschman said the event is really a tribute to community and the power of numbers, explaining that so many people donate their time and talents to make the night a success, including musicians who play for free. She also said people who cannot attend can still purchase a ticket since you don’t have to be present to win.

“We understand not everyone who wants to help can attend, so you can win a basket without being present. We are so thankful to everyone who puts this together and helps out in any way they can,” said Kirschman.

Kirschman said the damage from the fire happened on a Tuesday in July, with the flood damage happening just three days later. As a result, they had to replace all the carpet with vinyl flooring. Other repairs have included painting, removing and replacing book shelves, storing and drying out more than 200 boxes of books, replacing sheetrock, along with purchasing and operating dehumidifiers. She said that while more than half of the books needed to be removed, only one book had to be thrown out. In addition to the water damage, the fire that originated next door at the Mancini Oil Company brought minor damage, such as blistering paint on the exterior wall, a broken window and damage to the screen door at the rear of the building. Kirschman said they are still finalizing some of those repairs.

“We had to special order the replacement windows, and we are still waiting for those to be installed. We still have odds and ends but we are getting there, and after weeks of being closed, we are so happy to be able to be open again, “said Kirschman.

Kirschman said both the fire and water damage claims were submitted to insurance, but the library was responsible for deductibles. She said she is grateful to the County, who she credits with being both concerned and generous. The county held a “Jeans Day” on both Aug. 31 and Sept. 1, raising $500. Kirschman also said the Fonda Reformed Church opened their doors to the library during the time they had to close.

“While the library was under renovations, the summer reading program, and our book club was at the Reformed Church, who so graciously stepped in and helped us out,” said Kirschman.

The 2017 Taste of Chocolate will be at 6 p.m., Saturday at St. Cecilia’s Hall, on 26 Broadway in Fonda.

Event tickets are $5 for adults and $2.50 for children; these tickets may be purchased at the library to avoid standing in line at the event.

The wide variety of baskets may be seen on the library’s Facebook page or at