WINTHROP — Flooding caused by a broken pipe has closed the children’s area of the C.M. Bailey Public Library for at least a week and has temporarily made the upstairs bathroom unusable.

Library Director Richard Fortin said staff on Saturday found a running and overflowing toilet in the Kids Room, which is on the ground floor of the 96-year-old building.

About 500 children a week frequent the room, Fortin said.

A staff member, assisted by a patron, mopped the floor and emptied buckets much of Saturday to try to minimize damage until emergency plumbing could be done, Fortin said.

He said the plumber determined that a rock broke an outside pipe, possibly a result of frost-heaving.

Repairs will require excavation, Fortin said. The lines are old and the same one caused problems last year, he said.

The upstairs bathroom also was damaged by flooding and the floor tiles — later determined to contain asbestos — must be replaced. Meantime, he said bathrooms are available at the Town Office, which is within walking distance of the library.

Fortin said downstairs work will include replacing tiles, installing new drywall and painting ceiling tiles.

“The work will need to be done before we can reopen it,” Fortin said. He didn’t know how long that would take.

Library trustee Chairman Mary Jane Auns and Vice-Chairman Elizabeth Sienko met with the plumber to discuss solutions, Fortin said.

Damage estimates were not available on Monday. Fortin said he spoke with Winthrop Town Manager Jeffrey Woolston and with a representative from Maine Municipal Association, which provides the town with insurance services.

Children’s entertainer Mr. Harley will still appear on the main floor 10:30-11 a.m. on Wednesday, but all other children’s activities for the week are canceled, Fortin said.

Books and other materials borrowed from the children’s room can be returned upstairs.

Water damage previously had been caused by leaks in the building’s slate roof, which is scheduled to be replaced this year at an estimated cost of $150,000. In heavy rain, water penetrates the masonry near the roof and leaks into the ground-floor children’s room.

The library is also beginning a capital campaign for expansion on the site of the neighboring town-owned Masonic Hall.

The library, at the corner of Bowdoin and Summer streets, was designed by Maine architect John Calvin Stevens. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1985.

The children’s area is painted with bright primary colors: yellow floor tiles, red columns, green doors and blue ceiling ductwork.

In 2009, the library closed for five months in order to repair damage caused by arson. It reopened in Augusta of that year.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

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