The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

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May 10, 2013

In the water's wake: Library works to be fully operational after recent flood damage

CLINTON — In the three weeks since the Clinton Public Library basement was flooded, city and library staff have been working to repair the damage, but the fixes are far from being complete and the Root Cellar remains closed.

When the Clinton area received more than four inches of rain within 24 hours last month, many Clinton residents experienced flooding. The main branch of the Clinton library was no exception. The basement floor was covered with water, ruining tile, carpet and drywall. Four feet of water filled the elevator shaft, which mixed hydraulic fluid into the water and put the elevator temporarily out of commission.

While Library Director Amy Birtell deals with repairing the flooding, she is also in the midst of a library assessment that will determine the future of her facility.

"On the one hand, this is perfect timing. We're taking steps to make permanent improvement to the library," Birtell said. "This is just another sign that something has to be done."

Since the flooding occurred and the water was pumped out of the basement, a new sump pump and elevator pump were installed. The elevator is back in service and cost the library $10,000 to repair.

The downstairs offices, including Birtell's, have new carpet and repaired drywall. Before the new carpet was laid, Birtell had to work from a laptop in the area outside her office.

While Birtell's office and the elevator have been repaired, other areas of the basement have not been.

The floor in the technical processing room, where books and magazines are prepared to be put on shelves, books are mended and deliveries are taken, remains covered in buckling and crumbling asbestos tiles. Birtell said they discovered in that area water had not only leaked into the room, but come up from the ground.

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