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Morris Public Library will re-open Monday, June 16

The area that formerly housed the library's six desktop computers, audio book collection and young adult fiction section has been blocked off due to water damage. Those collections have been moved to other locations within the library for the re-opening on Monday. 1 / 3
Temporary shelves have been added throughout the library to hold displaced collection items. 2 / 3
Some areas damaged by flooding will remain sealed until an asbestos abatement team is brought in to start making repairs. 3 / 3

MORRIS – The Morris Public Library will re-open to the public on Monday, June 16 after a two week closure, but patrons will have limited access to some collections and services until after repairs to the building are completed.

The library has been closed since Monday, June 2 due to extensive water damage.

City Manager Blaine Hill told the Morris City Council on Tuesday that the damaged was caused by the roofers who were in town doing a repair to the roof.  

“If they hadn’t been there fixing the roof, we wouldn’t have had the damage that was inside,” Hill said. “The nature of the repairs that they’re making, they actually opened up an area that everybody pretty much knew about that wound up having water come into it.”

Although the insurance companies for the city and roofing company are still negotiating, Hill said he was confident all of the damage would be fixed.

“Our job is to get it all put back together,” said Hill.

This week, city staff and contractors have continued to dry out the building and assess the damage. More than 200 gallons of water were pulled from the carpets after the storm. Some shelving units have water damage and a section of the carpet will eventually be replaced.

After the storm, small amounts asbestos were found in the spray on the ceiling, the floor tiles under the carpeting, and underneath some wood paneling. The library will remain open on this limited basis until an asbestos abatement team is brought in to move forward with removing the asbestos.

There is a 10-day waiting period for the asbestos abatement team to file for permits with the state. It also takes time to get a certified supervisor for the abatement process. The team estimated it would take about five to 10 days to complete the abatement, Morris Public Library Director Melissa Yauk said.  

During the abatement process the library will have to be closed because the public and staff will not be allowed in the building, Yauk said.

Mick Jacobson, the city’s building inspector, visited the library on Thursday and verified it is safe to reopen. Prior to opening on Monday, all of the carpet will be vacuumed and the children’s area will be shampooed.

But for now, the library is safe and available to open on a limited basis. Beginning June 16, the library will be staffed during regular business hours. Patrons will have access to most of the collections, but the library’s computer resources are limited.

The library’s copier is still in storage, and parts of the DVD collection are unavailable.

A temporary WiFi router has been installed to provide Internet access to those with a laptop or mobile device. The library’s regular bank of six computer terminals are not available, but patrons will have access to the library’s six laptop computers, said Yauk.

The library’s regular hours are Monday to Thursday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Sign ups for the Summer Reading Program will continue. Story time on Thursdays will resume in the children’s area of the library. Lunch Bunch, Book Bunch and movies will once again take place in the library meeting room.