Photo Credit: COURTESY OF PETER FORD - Chairs and ceiling are reflected in standing water at the Woodstock Branch Library after it flooded in the night.Neighborhood branch libraries can be a hub of the community, especially during the summer. So it was with disappointment that hundreds of eager patrons turned away recently after reading the posted notice about a flood in the Woodstock Branch Library.

On Thursday morning, July 31st, Woodstock Library staff arrived to find that a plumbing pipe had broken, and water had leaked from the janitor’s closest all night long. One and a half inches of water stood on the reading room floor and did quite a bit of damage, but fortunately did not reach anything on the shelves.

Carol Uhte, Woodstock Branch Administrator, had praise for everyone who responded, beginning with one of her staff who on arrival turned off the water Thursday morning.

Workers from the Multnomah County Facilities Department and contracted companies to move in to vacuum up the water (and at one point, to send it gushing out the front door), to drill holes in the baseboards to reach water that had seeped through the walls, and then to begin the process of drying carpets as well as wiring conduits that extend through the floors.

The library administrator’s office needed new insulation and sheet rock because the water had seeped under the wall and was absorbed by the insulation.

The library was closed for five days, while dehumidifiers and fans filled the building with humming, and the heat was turned up to help evaporate the water.

On Monday, August 4th, while the building was still closed, the last eight gallons of water were removed from the wires. According to Administrator Uhte, “Everything is now bone dry.”

One young adult patron summed up the public’s appreciation for its libraries when he arrived on one of the days it was closed, with a large bag of books to return.

“Man, I’ve been lovin’ this library,” he said with a sigh as he got back on his bike.

Although library users were given the option of returning books to neighboring libraries, a skeleton crew of Woodstock Library staff was able to check in some items while the library was closed.  “On hold” items for patrons were held through Saturday of the following week to allow users enough time to get them.  

No fines were charged for the time the library was closed.

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