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There's a possibility the Decorah Public Library interior will be closed to the public through the end of the year

Posted: Mon, Sep 14, 2020 4:59 PM

The Decorah Public Library is currently closed to entry by members of the public--not because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but because of construction projects inside the library.

City officials had originally thought the projects would be completed by the end of October, but Library Director Kristin Torresdal told members of the Library Board on Monday evening that the work is running into delays, both with supplies and with scheduling, and might not be completed until 2021.

The news surfaced after Library Board member Ed Brooks made a motion to have the library reopen to the public "no later than September 21st."  Brooks pointed out the Calmar Library has been open since July 6th, the Spillville Library since August 3rd and the Waukon Library is now fully open.

But Torresdal says the Decorah Library is closed now because of the construction projects inside the library.  Crews will be replacing flooring in the building and replacing skylights, among other projects.  She said the construction project "must be done in as concentrated a manner as possible," so the library could not admit the public into the building while construction was happening.  "However long the project takes, we will be closed because of liability issues," she told board members.

The construction could stretch until the end of the year for other reasons, however.  The projects were scheduled to start in August, but now should start the end of September.  Also, contractors have notified the Decorah Library of delivery delays for some of the material to be used in the projects.  Those factors mean the original completion deadline of the end of October will not be met.

In the meantime, the library will continue to concentrate on other ways to serve the public, including through curbside book pickup and with various digital offerings.  Torresdal is hoping the construction projects can be finished as soon as possible, but she warned the library board, "there is a lot that can happen along the way."