10 percent of Burton Barr Central Library's book collection damaged by storm

Library officials said there is no estimated time for the Burton Barr Library to reopen after sprinklers damaged thousands of books.

PHOENIX- Officials from the Burton Barr Central Library have reported that only 10 percent of the books housed at the library were damaged by a microburst that swept the area Saturday evening.

The public library has half a million books at the Burton Barr location, meaning about 50,000 books were damaged, said Lee Franklin, spokeswoman for the City of Phoenix's Library system.

The damaged books will be taken out of circulation, Franklin said. The remaining, undamaged books will be packed and shipped out today to other public library locations so that people can still check out books while the Burton Barr location is closed.

The library has a rare book room with more than 5,000 rare items and an Arizona Room with state artifacts, luckily those rooms were left mostly untouched.

On Saturday, the library's building maintenance crew reported a leak right before 8 p.m. Fire crews responded and found a microburst moved roof tiles, which the roof is designed to do, however, at one point the roof membrane was lifted up and when it slammed back down the impact broke a sprinkler pipe.

The sprinkler system set off causing about 50 to 60 gallons of water per minute to flow throughout the building, Phoenix Fire Department said.

The cost of damages is uncertain at this time. 

Library workers showed up to work Monday to find it closed. There are 200 employees who need reassignment while Burton Barr undergoes repairs. 

The Burton Barr Central Library will be closed until the cleanup and repair process is complete. There is no given timeframe at the moment. 

© 2017 KPNX-TV


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