Thousands of dollars in damage after Washington County Library floods

Posted at 11:02 PM, Sep 02, 2014
and last updated 2014-09-03 13:26:54-04

ST GEORGE, Utah - Librarians at the Washington County Library say they lost hundreds of books when last week’s flash flood ripped through the city.

The storm proved too strong for the building’s drain system and the basement ended up with several feet of water.

Library director Joel Tucker said the problem happened in an outdoor ventilation area. The water filled up the area and burst through a fire door.

“Basically everything was underwater,” Tucker said. “Books were destroyed. Some of the furniture was completely devastated.”

The main processing room ended up with three feet of water, which was enough to destroy hundreds of books, and since the basement is where new books are processed, most of those destroyed books were brand new.

“It was filled with books that I knew I had ordered,” said librarian Elizabeth Meyers. “Just to see them falling apart, like the covers coming off, it was devastating.”

The frustration is compounded by the fact that the library has flooded before -- three times since the building opened in 2006.

Tucker said each time the water came in a different area, so engineers have made fortifications.

“We can get to a point where there’s no concerns in the future,” Tucker said.

Librarians are still sorting through the books and other items to see what is salvageable. Tucker said the damage already exceeds $125,000.