Water Line Break Collapses Wahoo Library Ceiling

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Lincoln, Neb.-- Denise Lawver is just thankful nobody got hurt.

Lawver, director of the Wahoo Public Library, and has worked there for 26 years. She was on her lunch break Tuesday afternoon when she got a call from work and heard that a water line had broken in the building's ceiling.

The ceiling eventually collapsed, causing water damage and damaging about 200-to-300 books.

Lawver said rescue crews got there fast, possibly preventing even more damage.

Now, the library is looking to the future.

"The big dryers are going," Lawver said, "and the dehumidifiers, and the process of drying out the building is kind of our first step."

Lawver said the library will have to be closed until further notice because of reconstruction, which could take anywhere from six-to-eight weeks. But first, they have to clear out the entire building and put all the library's property in a safe place, until they can reopen.

"A lot of people don't realize how important we are," Lawver said, "until they don't have us."

Lawver is referring to the other services the library offers. She said they're the only free public printing and fax service, that they offer online access and help people file taxes/print off tax forms.

The library won't be able to do any of that for several months.

"We have scouts," Lawver said, "we have GED classes, we have English as a second language classes, we have a local robotics club that meets here. There's so many other people that use this building that people don't even realize."

Some of the library's damaged books are actually in a frozen meat locker at a nearby Wahoo company. The hope is the books may be freeze dried and put back into use later on.

While the renovations take place, Lawver said they'll have a temporary headquarters at the Wahoo city offices building. She also said the public should follow them on social media for further updates to the library's status.

"All this stuff is replaceable," Lawver said.

"The library, yes, is a building. But, the real library is the people inside and what we do for our community."