Mushrooms at West Tisbury Library a growing concern

Damp wood and mildew is evident at West Tisbury Library. Selectmen are considering whether to seek legal recourse or just fix the problem. - Rich Saltzberg

Part of the West Tisbury Library’s exterior has been torn out to remove damp, mushroom-infested building materials, town administrator Jennifer Rand informed the selectmen Wednesday evening.

West Tisbury allocated approximately $90,000 to address a moisture problem in the library during its last town meeting. Ms Rand told the selectmen that the scope of the moisture problem had essentially mushroomed.

“At first glance it looked like our worst fears were not being realized. At second glance, we probably are hitting a worse case scenario,” she said.

The affected area is located at the back of the library in a bump out section of the building.

Part of the bump out has been left open to drain and air out, Ms. Rand said, while another part has been resurfaced with plywood to protect it.

Ms. Rand said she hoped to have a conversation with both the architect and the builder about how to remediate the problem as soon as possible. However, she also said she will consult with town counsel to explore legal options.

“At first glance it seemed like it would cost us more to pursue resolution with the builder or architect than we would get in return. I’m not clear that’s true anymore,” she said.

Selectmen chairman Skip Manter argued against legal action. Money that would be spent in pursuit of a legal solution would be better spent fixing the damage to the library, he said.

“If there is a remedy, even if it involves legal action, and it’s enough money, it’s worth pursuing,” selectman Cynthia Mitchell said.

The cost of fixing the problem has not been established.

On Thursday, the bump out area of the library was torn apart but no mushrooms were evident. Some exposed wood appeared water-stained and mildewed.

Ms. Rand later told The Times that the mushrooms had been removed when the bump out was dismantled.