Collins Library gets doused during huge rain storm

Marlys Barker Tri-County
Times Editor
The library’s children’s, teen and middle school education section was swamped with water following heavy rains last Thursday. Photo Contributed

The Collins Public Library is closed down temporarily due to damage that was caused by the heavy rains last week.

Last Thursday, Collins Library Director Sara Coree received an email from City Clerk Theresa Findlay that the library had water.

“I went into the library expecting the floor in front of our back door to be wet, and found an inch or two of water in our main room,” Coree said.

She explained, that when it rains like it did last Thursday, the town of Collins floods from the southeast end to the northwest end. “The water came in our back door that faces east. It went from the door all the way through our children’s section and stopped about six feet from our circulation desk.”

It’s been a mess, as Coree and others have had to remove the books and shelving from the library’s children’s, teen and middle school education section to dry the floor and the bottom of the shelves. Those things are currently taking up all the floor space of the Wright Learning Center and the library’s adult sections.

“I am estimating it will take a month to get everything fixed and replaced,” Coree said. “The floor and shelves will need to be replaced before we can start getting things put back to open.”

She said she isn’t sure if insurance will cover the flood damage, but the library will need to replace carpet, baseboards, some shelving and ceiling tiles. Thankfully, she noted, none of the books were ruined.

In a busy week, as the town prepares for its annual Collins Days celebration, Coree said she’s thankful for the support she’s received in dealing with the library situation.

“I have been blessed with an amazing library board and Friends of the Collins Public Library group. They came in on Thursday and started boxing up books and moving shelves. Hannah Clair, an employee of one year, and her friend Shayla Ewing ran a Shop Vac all morning. Darrin Kennedy (Collins city maintenance) brought in the Shop Vacs for us and helped move some of our bigger shelving, with the help of Jimmy Kloppenborg. Crystal Clair, Ben Dingle and Harley Clair, family friends of mine, came in and helped box books and move them to another room.

Members of the current library board include Don Moody, Gloria Christie, Cody Coffelt and Katie Baldwin. Friends of the Library helpers included Kayla Longren and Nita Kloppenborg.

“We have a very big job ahead of us,” said Coree, who has worked at the library since June of 2016 and been its director since September of 2017. “We will have to figure out how to hopefully prevent this in the future. The board, Friends group and I will be doing most of the work ourselves, I believe. I will also be taking this opportunity to reorganize and sort through our book selection as I put them back on the shelves.”

The library’s Summer Reading Program will now be held at the Collins Community Center, across the street from the library. The library, along with the Friends of the Library, will still host the lunch on Saturday, June 23, at the community center, and be involved in other events for the weekend. They will, of course, be gratefully accepting donations to help with the cost of repairs. Those donations can be mailed to: Collins Public Library, PO Box 79, Collins, IA 50055.