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Rochester Public Library still struggling to recover from major water leak

Only one floor of the building is open to the public.

Posted: Sep 30, 2019 4:07 PM

ROCHESTER, Minn. – It’s over a week later and the Rochester Public Library is still recovering from a water softener leak that flooded all three floors.

“Our collection is mostly unharmed, but the water damage really affected the floors, walls, ceiling tiles, and other building components,” says Library Director Audrey Betcher. “Right now the work is focused on getting all of those areas dry and reopened for the public to use.”

Only a portion of the library’s first floor is currently open to the public and Betcher says the top two priorities are opening the library’s second floor, home to heavily-used resources such as internet computers, the Literacy Hub tutoring spaces, a digital conversion lab, and more, and reopening the public meeting spaces.

“We have library staff acting as runners to collect books, DVDs, and CDs from the second floor, but we know patrons really want to be back upstairs,” she says.

It is hoped that recovery work can finish by Friday so reconstruction efforts can begin. Several interior walls were saturated, so restoration crews have spent much of their time removing drywall and insulation.

“The faster we can have our spaces repaired, the faster we can get back to offering our full range of services,” says Betcher.
Library materials that have been due since the flooding have all been given an automatic grace period and are now due October 10.

The Library also wants to make the public aware that:

• Interlibrary loan service is up and running
• The Convert-O-Lab is closed
• Temporary internet stations have been set up on the first floor
• The Friends of the Library Autumn Book Sale is scheduled to continue
• Test proctoring is not available
• Faxing is not available
• One-on-one digital assistance is unavailable
• The Literacy Hub is closed

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