SALT LAKE CITY — Heavy rains, an overflowing creek and overwhelmed storm drains were being blamed for flooding that damaged thousands of books in the basement of a Salt Lake City-area library.

By the time workers responded to a flood alarm early Wednesday at the Sprague Branch library in Sugar House, the basement was filled with more than 5 feet (1.5 meters) of water, mud and debris, building facilities library facilities manager Justin Thorup told the Deseret News (http://bit.ly/2u4Z54t ).

Tables were overturned, mud coated shelves and steps across the carpet left swampy footprints after water was pumped out and workers began pulling up carpet, ripping out walls and removing a thick, mucky layer of ruined books.

“I think they’re just going to toss them,” Thorup said, of the waterlogged books. “All the ones that are destroyed.”

Salt Lake City Public Library spokesman Andrew Shaw said water from the overflowing Parleys Creek rushed past a plugged storm drain and down a library basement stairwell to swamp the library’s nonfiction, children’s and teen collections of books, comics and audiobooks.

No rare collections were damaged, but the water rose high enough to soak an art exhibit in the library meeting room.

Shaw called the Wednesday morning scene heartbreaking.

“When the water came in, it floated a lot of furniture around, took out some computers and took out a lot of books,” he said. “We’re looking at a loss of a couple thousand books. We consider all the materials in there to be a loss.”


Information from: Deseret News, http://www.deseretnews.com