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Library in Sugar House sustains extensive damage due to flooding

SALT LAKE CITY – The Sprague Branch of the Salt Lake City Public Library system sustained severe damage this week due to flooding.

“I was just dumbfounded. I couldn’t believe it. It was just so much water,” said Justin Thorup, who does maintenance for the library.

And after eight hours of pumping out water, the Sprague Library’s downstairs is a soggy mess.

“Pretty much everything on that basement level we're looking at as being a loss,” said Andrew Shaw with the Salt Lake City Public Library system.

Everything from children’s books, to computers, to the walls themselves were damaged by the water.

Soaked with five feet of water, the library hasn’t added up all the losses yet. But in books alone it amounts to thousands of dollars.

“It’s difficult that we lost so many books, but books can be replaced,” Shaw said.

Shaw said the larger loss is giving up this community space.

“People in Sugar House bring their families here,” he said. “People who work from home come in and use it as a second office because we have free internet and a comfortable environment to be in.”

The flooding will also disrupt meeting rooms and regular story times.

“This is one of the reasons we moved to this area is I really like this little library,” Patron Kristen Bonkoski said.

She said she hopes things are back to normal soon.

“I think it’s sad,” she said. “I hope they’re able to repair everything.”

A sentiment Shaw echoed.

“Just to see a building that is so loved by the community in disrepair right now is pretty sad,” he said.

The library posted on Facebook about a campaign to share memories of the Sprague branch, and they also listed some ways folks can help in the wake of the damage. Donations can be made by supporting Friends of the City Library.