News and Tribune

Clark County

April 18, 2009

Jeffersonville leaders look ahead at fate of Carnegie Library after Remnant Trust departs

The remnant fuss

A few Fridays ago, Carnegie Library Foundation Chairman Tom Lindley told The Evening News and The Tribune that work to correct humidity problems at the Carnegie Library building in Warder Park would be starting soon.

It was a last-ditch effort to keep The Remnant Trust Inc. — an educational organization that houses centuries-old manuscripts, books and text inside the library building — in Jeffersonville.

Just a few days after that, on Monday, he delivered the news that interested parties have all heard by now: Attempts to keep the organization here have failed and The Remnant Trust is leaving Jeffersonville. In an interview that day, its founder, Brian Bex, said that delays in fixing the humidity had put the $20 million collection in too much danger.

The Carnegie Library Foundation board — which oversaw the $4 million renovation to the building and the Trust’s move to the area just two years ago — told a different story. It issued a statement saying it did everything it could to work with the Trust, even though the board said the Trust’s owners had been unwilling to pay basic maintenance costs.

“I went down to try and see what I could do,” Jeffersonville Mayor Tom Galligan said, referring to a meeting he attended with the Trust’s board in February. “The problem is when so much water goes over the dam, there’s just not much you can do about it.”

Galligan said he felt like the Remnant Trust was unhappy with being in Jeffersonville. And he pointed out that the Trust was not interested in humidity requirements when it loaned its texts to colleges in the area.

Remnant Trust President Kris Bex issued a statement saying that for two years the board has been uncooperative in its dealings with the Trust’s concerns. And he said the Trust itself offered to fund the initial stages of the needed repairs to the building, only to be rebuffed by the board without explanation.

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