Wednesday, January 29, 2014

New Carpet at the Pottsville Library

This week they started replacing the fire-damaged carpet in the library. And not just the section that was damaged: the entire first floor is receiving new carpet! So library staff and users alike have had to make adjustments as different areas were worked on (and thus unavailable to the public). The lobby and Circulation Desk area were finished before the library opened on Monday morning, and they've nearly finished the Reference Department, with one more section to be done after today. Next up will be the Children's Department and finishing the Magazine Room in the back. The project has certainly dictated how Reference service was provided this week!

Don't remember why there was fire-damaged carpet?

These photos were taken the morning of July 31, 2013, after the fire was put out and before the clean-up crew got started. The light fixture overheated, causing melted plastic to drip down onto the carpet, which then started burning. Fortunately, the janitor grabbed a fire extinguisher and was able to put out the fire before the firetrucks got there (all the gray powdery stuff on the floor is from the extinguisher). The fire and hot dripping plastic melted the floor mats to the carpet, which then cooled to a lumpy mess. We had to keep a step stool over that spot to keep people from tripping on it, and slightly rearranged the computers. Somehow the computers weren't damaged by either the fire or the extinguisher!

This photo shows the old fire-damaged carpet removed from the computer area. This was the first section worked on, even before the very front of the Reference Department. This meant that, just like right after the fire, adults had to use the computers in the Children's Department on Monday and Tuesday while that section of the library was worked on. Computers in the Reference Department were once again available to our users on Wednesday. But, once they start working on the Children's Department, adults will have to share their computers with the kids!

Look closely under the edge of the shelf on the right (on old carpet). See those round things? Those are sliders that the company slipped under the shelving units to shift them back and forth as needed. This was one of the lighter units, so they didn't have to remove any books before moving the shelving unit. 

The front section of the room is finished, but all tables (and other flat surfaces) are needed to hold reference books from the shelves in the back. So, Wednesday morning the computers were available for use but we couldn't provide anywhere for anyone else to sit and read the paper. Like the previous two days, newspaper and magazine readers were encouraged to take their reading material upstairs to the tables and chairs on the second floor.

 The grand staircase provided another safe place to put some of the reference books from the back of the room. As one of the movers put it, "That's higher education for you right there!"  :)  They also made use of the tops of the wooden shelves running along the wall, under the windows, as well as the tops of the Vertical File cabinets.

One of the toughest parts for the movers was dealing with the microfilm cabinets in the Magazine Room. The two newer cabinets do not have removable drawers, and weigh a considerable amount. To make matters worse, there isn't much space between the tops of the cabinets and the ceiling tiles (and lights!). Somehow, the three men got them moved. Don't think I want to see how they move them back when the new carpet is in place!

More photos will be put on the library's Facebook page as the work progresses, so if you're curious you can follow it better there. In the meantime, please forgive us if we can't get something for you, or your favorite space isn't available, or if the smell of the adhesive is too strong for you. They are finishing up as quickly as they can, and hopefully within the next week or so the library will be back to normal -- just with better carpet!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Tax Season Has Started, But Where Are The Forms?

Many people dread this time of year: tax season. But where are the forms?

Due to the partial federal government shutdown in October, the IRS had to delay printing many of the basic personal tax return forms. These forms are not expected to be received at the Pottsville Library until late January. Because of this delay, the various schedules that may arrive earlier will not be put in the library's lobby until the basic forms are received. These schedules will be kept at the Reference Desk, so if you are seeking Form 8829, for example, you can pick one up at the desk.

In addition, the IRS has declared that you cannot file a personal income tax return until January 31st. So, even if you use an online tax preparation service, and fill everything out today, that return will be held by the online service until January 31 and then filed at that time.

Speaking of online tax preparation, there are many companies that offer free tax filing for federal tax returns under certain conditions. Just visit and click on the "FreeFile" logo on the right side of the screen. There are a few ways to select a company to use, and the requirements for qualifying for free filing vary from company to company. This feature will be active starting January 17th. Note that some companies will also offer to file your state tax return, but this may not be free.

The Pennsylvania Department of Revenue ( offers the ability to directly file your state tax return online for free. The system isn't available yet, but when it is you can visit their site and click on "Personal Income Tax Return Filing". The system will walk you through the sections that need to be filled out.

Even with all the delays in making forms and online services available, remember that the deadline hasn't changed! Personal income tax returns are still due on the state and federal level by April 15th, unless you file an extension request.