Chinatown library sustains flood damage 

Thousands of books, CDs and DVDs in Chinatown’s public library were drenched after a ceiling sprinkler burst Sunday, officials said.

Water sopped the floors on the main level of the Powell Street library, leaked onto shelves on the floor below and dripped down the front steps of the historic library around 2 p.m., said Jill Bourne, deputy city librarian. The leak shut down the library through Monday, she said.

The two-floor library was expected to reopen around 10 a.m. Tuesday.

Fire crews spent about 50 minutes sucking up as much leaked water as possible, fire Lt. Mindy Talmadge said. A “ton of people” from the preservation unit for the city library system were assessing the damage to books, computers and to tiles on the ceilings Monday, Bourne said.

More than 1,000 books and in excess of 5,000 DVDs and CDs were affected, she said. Some computers were also drenched, though they appeared to be working once they dried out Monday, she added.

“As for the books, we think the vast majority can either be salvaged in our preservation unit or replaced,” Bourne said.

The DVDs and CDs are also functioning, but they will need new cases and covers because the water was mixed with oil and rust, she said.

The collections in the area directly affected by the spill included new fiction and audio/visual materials, Bourne said. The children’s area in the lower level of the library also sustained some damage, she said.

The furniture fared well, but 15 to 20 ceiling tiles were damaged beyond repair and were to be replaced, along with a number of electrical outlets.

Dehumidifiers were drying out the carpets Monday, Bourne added.

The library, located on Powell between Washington and Jackson streets, is an old building, Bourne added. Originally built in 1921, the branch was seismically retrofitted and expanded to twice its original size in the 1990s, officials said.

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Tuesday, Oct 13, 2015


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