Flooded Cedar Rapids Public LibraryIf you haven’t seen the news about it yet, take a look at the news about the flooded Cedar Rapids (IA) Public Library. The Iowa floods have been all over the news lately, but nothing brings it home for us library folks like seeing the first-floor stacks in several feet of water.

The CRPL goes on, though. As you can read in the story, the library building has no power, even after the water receded. The staff just held a summer reading program in an empty, closed-down shoe store. The adult collection on the flooded first floor has been pretty much destroyed and will probably have to be discarded, but the children’s collection on the unflooded second floor may still be in danger from humidity, mold, and toxic chemicals. This quote is from Library Journal‘s Norman Oder’s interview with the CRPL’s Marie DeVries:

Obviously the water didn’t get up there, but every day that passes is a problem. The humidity is incredible. You can hardly be there without a mask for 15 minutes. The muck left behind by the river is filled with who knows what. We have a lot of industry in downtown Cedar Rapids. They all are located along the river, and they’ve all been compromised, so many of the chemicals they had in storage are in the river. And, of course, [there’s] raw sewage.

It looks as if the CRPL, which was very close to the flooded Cedar River, will need to be gutted and reconfigured. And, ironically (for those who believe that the Internet means than we don’t have to deal with the real world), among the things lost in the flood was access to the library’s servers. The library’s Web site is currently unavailable. The nearby Hiawatha Public Library’s site is up, though, with FEMA information and announcements of canceled summer kids’ programs and shortened hours.