Southeastern N.C. libraries largely escape hurricane

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Area public libraries suffered little damage from Hurricane Florence.

With few exceptions, public libraries in Southeastern North Carolina made it through Hurricane Florence with barely a scratch.

“Not any damage worth mentioning, thank goodness,” said Reecie Tate, director of the Brunswick County library system. “Just some limbs down and some shingles in the parking lot.”

Things were a little more complicated in New Hanover County. Some branches suffered some water seepage, said library director Harry Tuchmayer, and some ceiling tiles were down in the main library’s third floor offices downtown. The Myrtle Grove branch library on South College Road had downed trees blocking access and had its reopening delayed until Sept. 26, two days after the rest of the system. Otherwise, “we were very lucky,” Tuchmayer said.

Less lucky were the Friends of the New Hanover Library, whose fall used book sale was mostly rained out in Florence’s aftermath. Librarians said the sale will be postponed, most likely until January 2019.

Much of Pender County was flooded by the hurricane, but its libraries largely stayed high and dry, according to director Mike Taylor. The meeting room at the main library in Burgaw suffered some leakage, but the Hampstead branch had very little damage and the Dallas Herring Heritage Research Collection, housed near the main library at 108 S. Cowan St., had no damage at all.

The Pender library is waiving all fines between Sept. 11 and Oct. 31 because of the storm, Taylor said. Patrons who had books or other checked-out items lost or damaged in the storm are urged to call their local branches — 910-259-1234 for Burgaw or 910-270-4603 for Hampstead — to report the loss so their accounts may be adjusted.


Hurricane Florence also brought renovations to a halt in the offices of public radio station WHQR. As a result, there will be no October edition of Prologue, the monthly book club co-sponsored by WHQR and StarNews Media. It’s hoped that Prologue can resume in November.

Reporter Ben Steelman can be reached at 910-616-1788 or