Freelance writer Dana Schmidt, of Ames, Iowa (you may remember her as a former Family Tree Magazine staffer), sent us this report about how the recent recording-setting floods have impacted libraries in her state:
Now that it’s been a couple weeks since rivers flooded parts of Iowa, we’re beginning to get a clearer picture of how devastating damages are in some libraries, and how other libraries escaped the worst.
In hard-hit Cedar Rapids, where the Cedar River crested at about 31 feet—nearly 20 feet over flood stage, beating the former high set in June 1851—nearly 5 feet of water submerged theground floor of the Cedar Rapids Public Library. According to a State Library of Iowa report, floodwaters rose three bookshelves high and humid conditions have contributed to the loss of the library’s entire adult book collection. The Cedar Rapids Gazette also reports magazines, journals and reference books, which were housed on the ground floor, are likely ruined, and the library may remain closed for a year.
The Czech and Slovak Museum and Library in Cedar Rapids also suffered. Ten feet of water surrounded the building and rose to the ceiling inside. According to the state library, about 20 percent of the museum’s artifacts were removed before the flood, but little of the remaining collection will be salvageable. Museum staff continues to update the Web site with recover news.
Inside Iowa’s New Hartford Public Library (near Waterloo), 18 inches of water covered the floor; it’s expected the building will need to be gutted. The library lost 82 percent of its collection.
In Iowa City, the University of Iowa’s Main Library managed to keep its collection dry, despite basement flooding. Cedar Rapids’ African-American Museum also was affected, but more than 90 percent of its collection is expected to survive. The museum’s online flood timeline tells about the museum’s collection preservation efforts.
Do you live in Iowa? click Comments (below) to tell us what you saw.