Leaks, Flooding All Too Common Occurrences At Glenwood Public Library

The basement of the Glenwood Public Library has been closed off to patrons this summer after multiple flooding events in the spring caused damage. Books like “The Water Hole” are being temporarily stored in a dry location.

The children’s department of the Glenwood Public Library has been temporary relocated from the basement to an area on the main floor, creating some tight space for Summer Reading program participants.

Wet, discolored carpet at the Glenwood Public Library after the basement flooded earlier this spring.

Roof and brick restoration work is completed on the library in 2013.

The Glenwood Aquatic Center isn’t the only facility owned by the city that’s experiencing water woes this year.

The basement of the Glenwood Public Library is off limits to patrons this summer after two spring flooding events forced the children’s department to be temporarily moved upstairs to the main floor of the building.

In April, some library staffers were in the basement of the building during a storm and tornado warning when water running began rushing in under the entrance door at the bottom of the handicapped-accessible ramp on the south side of the facility. Workers from other city departments, including City Hall, Public Works and the Glenwood Police Department, came to the building with mops, buckets and wet/dry vacuums to assist with the late-night cleanup.

A similar occurrence happened in June but this time the building was unoccupied.

“In June when it happened, no one was here. We came in Monday and the whole entire basement was covered with water,” Glenwood Public Library Director Tara Painter said. “The water comes in under that ramp door.”

Remarkably, no books were lost because of the flooding, but shelves, carpeting and some furniture sustained damage. Painter said it’s her understanding that the damage is covered under the city’s insurance policy.

“They’re going to replace all of these shelves,” she said. “We’re not putting anything back  - if water comes in again, we’re back where we started.

Painter, who has served as the library director since 2015, said an exact cause of the flooding has not been officially determined, but the source of the water is suspected to be a drain near the basement entry door at the bottom of the ramp.

“It looks like it’s coming up the drain,” she said. “It was coming in with force - about 6 inches of rain water.”

The necessary repairs and shelf replacement will be made once the cause of the problem is determined. The sewer line from the drain, Painter said, travels west and southwest, eventually making it to Vine Street.

Flooding in the basement has been an issue since an addition was built in 1983. Construction of the ramp coincided with the addition being built.

“When they first opened that ramp, within a month it flooded,” Painter said. “They (library board) had meant to put in an elevator and decided not to and save the money.”

The shelves that were damaged are nearly 40 years old will  be replaced with mobile shelves.

“When lthe ibrary was remodeled in 2012, the shelves from 1983 weren’t replaced, just moved to different places. That’s not really remodeling,” she said.

“We move stuff all the time. We change what we’re doing based on what the community needs so everything we put in here, we want it be mobile.”

Despite the inconvenience of moving the children’s department to its temporary location, the library hasn’t missed a beat this summer and is buzzing with actvity. Painter said the library has over 300 participants in the Summer Reading program, a number similar to 2021.

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Library Has Long History Of Water-Related Issues

Water and flooding issues are nothing new for the Glenwood Public Library.

Water has been a problem at the  library for years. For decades, actually.

Glenwood Public Library Director Tara Painter created the following timeline of repair work and flooding /water-related incidents after reviewing Glenwood Library Board of Directors meeting minutes from the past four decades, dating back to 1983 when a new addition was constructed at the facility.

May 1983 -  Library board minutes report that the new basement addition was flooded after 5” of rain . . . original drainage was inadequate.

June 1984 - Board minutes report that the roof leaks between the old and new addition.

March 1986  - Board minutes report that they “ presently have 14 containers catching leaks.” Two bids were received for repairs.

April 1986 - Board minutes report that the new roof has been completed.

December 1986  - Board minutes report that a bid was received to enlarge the ramp drain.

January 1987 - Board minutes report a discussion of adding a ramp cover (roof).

July 1987 - Board minutes report a ramp roof being built.

December 1987 - Library board minutes report final payment for ramp roof construction.

June 2012 - Board minutes report recommendation for complete replacement of the library roof. Century-old building will need “substantial masonry work” before roof can be replaced. Quote was presented to the city.

July 2012 - Board minutes report that the board is determined to have the roof “replaced properly.”

August 2012 - Board minutes report that Angela Campbell, library director, was to request a bid letting from the city for the roof.

September 2012 - Board minutes report that Pinnacle Construction installed a temporary “umbrella” on the roof.

October 2013 - Board minutes report that Paul Davis Restoration was hired by the city to complete brick work.

March 2013 - Board minutes report that the City hired JEO Consulting as the engineering firm for the roof replacement.

July 2013 - Board minutes report that roof repairs began.

October 2013 - board minutes report that roof repair was finished.

November 2015 – New library director Tara Painter contacted R.L. Craft regarding a leak in the library. It was repaired that month.

2016 - Upstairs water fountain leaked into the basement, flooding the lights in the Curry Genealogy Room and ruining a printer.

2018 - Drain in ramp became clogged. Staff successfully kept the water to the entrance and there was no damage

2018 - Upstairs toilet overflowed into basement bathroom.

March 2019 - While beginning the renovation process in the Curry and Bogart rooms in the basement, north basement rooms were flooded.

May 2019 - Bids accepted for drainage solution on north side of library.

“What they discovered when they got in is that there were two window wells buried. Instead of pulling them out (during 1968 renovation project), they buried them and it had been leaking the whole time,” Painter said.

March 2021- Sewer line backed up. Repairs were noted in April board minutes.

April 2022 - Basement flooded due to storm. Library and city staff were able to keep the damage limited and library staff were able to mitigate the damage themselves.

June 2022 - Staff arrived on a Monday morning to find all parts of the children’s department flooded. Staff removed books and shop vacced all day, but the next morning it was clear  further mitigation was necessary.

June 2022 - While mitigation equipment was in place, the  library flooded again. A “dam” was then installed in front of the entrance door at the bottom of the ramp by library staff as designed by library patron Keith Lewis.


The Opinion-Tribune

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