Burton Barr Central Library will not reopen until June 2018

Posted at 11:16 AM, Aug 18, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-19 08:19:51-04

The City of Phoenix has announced that the Burton Barr Central Library will not reopen until mid-2018. 

City Manager Ed Zuercher announced at a press conference that the library will reopen June 2018.

Ed Zuercher also says inspection reports from recent years warned of pipe corrosion but that those reports weren't shown to top officials.

"Some employees were notified as much as three years ago and did not act to bring it to light or act upon it, Zuercher said. "That is a big problem."

Zuercher says officials are trying to determine why that wasn't done.

"Those records came in and we're tracking where did they go and who talked about them," Zuercher said. "Clearly, they were never acted upon and that's what we need to find out. Why was this information not acted upon?"

The city is working to repair damage after a storm hit the library in July.

It will cost the city at least $6 million to repair the damage, including replacing the entire roof. 

Nearby resident Lauren Parch says she's "devastated" by the news.

"I live a few blocks from here and I come here a couple times a month," she explained. "I knew that it would be closed for a while, but didn't realize it would be a year."

According to library officials, about 6,000 books were damaged — mainly from the "reference section" like almanacs, atlases, and encyclopedias.

The city is expanding hours in branches closest to downtown and moving materials from the main library to branches.