Roof caves in, displacing Palestine Library

By Morgan Chesky - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - email

PALESTINE, TX (KLTV) - They re-opened for business less than a month ago, closing down after a section of roof collapsed. But, just this week, doors of the Palestine Public Library have been closed again after rain caved their roof right into the bookshelves.

"It was scary," said Carol Herrington, the library's director. "It was a loud noise. I thought the whole thing had gone."

A Sunday evening rainstorm brought much more than she planned on.

"Ceiling tiles were falling down and going slap slap hitting the floor," Herrington described.

Soon after, a six foot pond caved the rooftop in. The weight of the water tore a section of the building clear away. Herrington escaped unharmed. Returning, she surveyed her library.

"When we came back inside we saw it was really bad," she said.

Five days later, cleanup continued. The fallen ceiling tiles piled up. Broken beams rested on bookshelves supported by newly built supports. Surprisingly, most of the 80,000 books were left intact.

"We've checked retail options and they're too expensive," said Don Sullivan, the Palestine Director of Public Works. "Right now, our game plan is to put all these books in storage and looks for another location."

Storage is an act in progress. Staff spends hours filling boxes. Each taped up and individually marked, ready for the move residents hope is a temporary one.

"We need to get a library back in this community as soon as we can," said Sullivan.

No alternative locations have been found yet, leaving library staff without an answer to a big question.

"Where are we gonna go?" asked Herrington.

Leaving the community to write the next chapter in this library's history book.

Engineers say they will know by the end of the week if the building is salvageable or if a completely new structure will need to be built.

To do your part in helping the library, Applebee's Grill in Palestine will be hosting a Flapjack Fundraiser Saturday morning. Stop by Applebee's from 8 to 10 at their location on Loop 256, all earnings will go towards library expenses.

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