Magazine article American Libraries

Water-Damaged Texas Library Condemned, Closed. (News Fronts USA)

Magazine article American Libraries

Water-Damaged Texas Library Condemned, Closed. (News Fronts USA)

Article excerpt

The Alvarado (Tex.) Public Library was condemned and the electricity and gas shut off March 19 after the city fire marshal declared the building unsafe.

Although library staff knew the building--a former grocery store constructed before current building codes--had irreparable structural problems that would force it to close, an evaluation by a structural engineer a week earlier had given them from one to two months before such a step would be necessary. However, workers repairing roof leaks discovered water in the building's wiring that posed a fire hazard, forcing it to close immediately, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported March 25.

Patrons who came to the library expecting it to be open were shocked. "Some started crying," librarian Leanna Cowan told American Libraries. "It was like somebody died." inside, volunteers and the staff of two worked without electricity or heat to carefully organize and label boxes of materials, moving them to the most secure area of the building, and Cowan tried to figure out a way to continue getting materials to patrons. Residents helped out however they could--one woman brought food to the library staff "like someone attending a funeral," and a local church offered the use of its fellowship hall for storytimes. …

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