Storm damage to Burton Barr library sends patrons, staff to other branches

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Lee Franklin said the library’s rare book collection is kept in a vault that was not breached by the storm. (Source: Alexis Kuhbander/Cronkite News) Lee Franklin said the library’s rare book collection is kept in a vault that was not breached by the storm. (Source: Alexis Kuhbander/Cronkite News)
The Burton Barr Central Library is relocating staff and other resources to other Phoenix library branches until Burton Barr is repaired. (Source: Alexis Kuhbander/Cronkite News) The Burton Barr Central Library is relocating staff and other resources to other Phoenix library branches until Burton Barr is repaired. (Source: Alexis Kuhbander/Cronkite News)

By Alexis Kuhbander, Cronkite News

PHOENIX (CRONKITE) – Storms that flooded Burton Barr Central Library over the weekend will leave it closed indefinitely, sending patrons and staff to other library branches in Phoenix.

But the library’s rare book collection, kept in a vault, is safe, library officials said.

[RELATED: Storm damage forces closure of Burton Barr Central Library in Phoenix]

[SLIDESHOW: Storm damage at Burton Barr Central Library in Phoenix]

Scott Krushak, assistant chief for the Phoenix Fire Department, said Monday a microburst damaged the roof’s sprinkler system, sending 50 to 60 gallons of water a minute cascading through the library’s five floors.

Library officials let in staff to retrieve personal belongings. Patrons and staff will be sent to other library branches during repairs. It’s unclear how long that will take.

[SPECIAL SECTION: Arizona Monsoon 2017]

Krushak said it’s not a small job. The library is about 280,000 square feet, or more than eight times the size of a grocery store.

“We want to do this right,” said Lee Franklin, community relations manager for Phoenix Public Libraries. “We love books. We love the library and what it does.”

[RAW VIDEO: Crews work on the damage at Burton Barr Central Library part one]

[RAW VIDEO: Crews work on the damage at Burton Barr Central Library part two]

Franklin said library officials appreciated the outpouring of support from the community.

“We are rallying to make sure we are back up and providing full services as soon as possible.”

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