By Curt Yeomans
The Clayton County Library System will close its Morrow branch today, following unexpected water problems caused by roofing work, the system's director said.
Library System Director Carol Stewart said the branch is getting a new roof, to replace a roof that has been leaking for years. She added that officials got a shock, on Tuesday, when water and debris that had accumulated on the roof began falling into a staff area.
"We had a bit of excitement over there today [Tuesday]," she said. "Water had accumulated on the roof, that we did not know about. So, when they started removing some of the panels, water and other debris began falling into the library."
The re-roofing work began at the 19-year-old library, on Monday, and was scheduled to take two weeks to finish, Stewart said. As a result of what happened Tuesday, she said today's closure at the library branch is being done as a precaution. The library system's director said the library will be closed because workers are expected to remove sections of the roof that are over the library's book collection.
She said the branch may have to be closed on Thursday, as well, but a decision had not been made, as of late Tuesday afternoon.
"We're not sure if any more water is going to be falling in the library," she said. "We were expecting to not have to possibly close the library until they were removing the [roof] ducts, but it has turned out we will need to do that right away."
Doug Iberg, the Morrow library branch's senior library assistant, said water began leaking into the library during the morning, and the leaking that did occur had stopped by late in the afternoon.
"It's not leaking now, so, hopefully, it's all dried up," he said. "It was not gushing water. It was just leaking water in an area where we had not had leaks before."
He also said plastic will be placed over the library branch's collection, and equipment, to protect them from dust or water. The library's book collection, and public computers, are located in the area where roof panels will be removed today, he said.
He said staff members at the library want to "be closed as few days as possible," and are hopeful that the branch will re-open on Thursday. "We would like to limit the number of days [that] resources are unavailable to the public," he said. He said he was not expecting a decision about the branch's status for Thursday, until today.
In addition to the library closure, Stewart said that when the Morrow branch is open, patrons will not be able to park in its front parking lot until the re-roofing work is underway. She said people who want to use the library will have to park, either in the branch's back parking lot, or in the parking lot of a neighboring, vacant restaurant building.
"They will still be able to use the front door to the library, though," she said.
All in all, Stewart said she is glad to have the re-roofing work underway, despite the issues that arose on Tuesday. She said getting a new roof on the library was one of the system's top priorities. It had become commonplace to see tarps and buckets in the middle of the library, to collect water that dripped from the roof, she said.
"We've done everything we could, in the past, to take care of the problem, and we just couldn't fix it," she said. She later added, "I am so excited that we're getting this new roof, because it will mean no more buckets."
Library system officials are encouraging patrons of the Morrow branch to check the system's web site -- www.claytonpl.org/ -- for updates about closures at the library branch.