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Burton Barr Central Library Will Reopen on Saturday, June 16

Looking southwest toward Burton Barr Central Library in Phoenix, in 2017 before storm damage.EXPAND
Looking southwest toward Burton Barr Central Library in Phoenix, in 2017 before storm damage.
Lynn Trimble
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It's been nearly a year since Burton Barr Central Library closed due to storm damage. Now, the city of Phoenix has announced that the library will reopen at 9 a.m. on June 16. Phoenix Public Library announced the news via Twitter today, May 30.

On the night of July 15, 2017, high winds damaged the roof of the library, located on Central Avenue south of McDowell Road, according to reports by the engineering firm brought in to analyze the structural damage.

Part of the stacks on the fifth floor, soon after fire sprinklers caused flooding on June 15, 2017.EXPAND
Part of the stacks on the fifth floor, soon after fire sprinklers caused flooding on June 15, 2017.
Lynn Trimble

That damage set off a fire sprinkler system, which was built into the library's roof, flooding all five floors of the building.

Burton Barr Library, the flagship of the 17-branch Phoenix Public Library system, has been closed ever since.

Designed by Phoenix architect Will Bruder, Burton Barr opened in 1995. Typically, 1 million people visit that location each year.

Phoenix Public Library opened a temporary branch at Park Central Mall in January 2018, and several existing branches increased operating hours and programming to help accommodate patrons who regularly used the main branch.

Looking northeast across Central Avenue toward Burton Barr Central Library.EXPAND
Looking northeast across Central Avenue toward Burton Barr Central Library.
Lynn Trimble

Meanwhile, renovations have been underway on all five floors of the library. They include replacing damaged drywall and flooring, in addition to the roof and the fifth-floor sprinkler system.

The library also made improvements to its children's area, and other sections officials had already been hoping to renovate. Most staff were reassigned to other branches while the work was taking place.

The total cost of repairs and renovations was not immediately available.

City of Phoenix logo outside the entrance to Burton Barr Central Library.EXPAND
City of Phoenix logo outside the entrance to Burton Barr Central Library.
Lynn Trimble

The flooding was preventable, according to city manager Ed Zuercher. Basically, the flooding occurred because of maintenance problems with the fifth-floor sprinkler system, which were never properly addressed.

Eleven city employees were disciplined following flooding-related investigations, and the city undertook a review of maintenance records for 676 city buildings.

Now, the city is getting ready to celebrate the reopening for Burton Barr. The temporary branch at Park Central Mall will close as of 5 p.m. on Friday, June 8. Find additional details on the Phoenix Public Library website

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