Rochester, (KROC-AM News) - More than one week after a major water leak forced the Rochester Public Library to close, crews are still working to return the building back to normal while library staff continues to find creative ways to bring services back.

“Our collection is mostly unharmed, but the water damage really affected the floors, walls, ceiling tiles, and other building components,” Library Director Audrey Betcher said. “Right now the work is focused on getting all of those areas dry and reopened for the public to use.” Only a portion of the library’s first floor is open while crews continue with mitigation work.

According to Betcher, the top priorities are opening the library’s second floor, which is home to the heavily-used resources such as internet computers, the Literacy Hub tutoring spaces, a digital conversion lab and more, and reopening the public meeting spaces.

“We have library staff acting as runners to collect books, DVDs, and CDs from the second floor, but we know patrons really want to be back upstairs,” Betcher said.

To help mitigate the loss of the three meeting spaces, the library has modified their offerings for October. Community partners are helping out by offering spaces for both programming and also storage. A number of events will be held at off-site locations such as the Mayo Civic Center, Rochester Art Center and Quarry Hill Nature Center.

“Both the Mayo Civic Center and Rochester Art Center are also helping us store items while work continues on some of our library storage spaces,” Betcher said. She estimates over 1,000 boxes of magazines are being stored at MCC, giving recovery crews the ability to work in the library’s Magazine Room on the second floor, which was one of most heavily-damaged spaces.

Crews hope to finish the recovery work by the end of the week, with reconstruction work starting soon after. Several interior walls were saturated, so restoration crews spent much of the last week removing drywall and insulation.

“The faster we can have our spaces repaired, the faster we can get back to offering our full range of services,” says Betcher.

The library has decided to delay due dates for, books, DVDs, CDs, and other library materials due to the past eight days have all been given a grace period and are now due October 10th.

Other important service notes:

Interlibrary loan service is up and running
The Convert-O-Lab is closed
Temporary internet stations have been set up on the first floor
The Friends of the Library Autumn Book Sale is scheduled to continue
Test proctoring is not available
Faxing is not available
One-on-one digital assistance is unavailable
The Literacy Hub is closed

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