The Philly Free Library temporarily closed its Rare Book Department Monday. Blame a leaky roof.

The Free Library of Philadelphia’s rare book section partially reopened Tuesday after a leaking gallery roof threatened some of its collections, forcing it to close its doors.

Library officials said none of its 40,000 rare books, antiques, artifacts, works of art, letters, photographs and other items — one of the largest special collections held by public libraries in the country — suffered damage when rainwater poured into part of the roof of the Parkway Central branch over the weekend penetrated The roof has already been repaired due to defective drains.

But while most of the building was open during regular hours on Tuesday, a gallery housed the promised chronic resistance Project — a collaborative archival exhibit that preserves more than 300 years of history of Philadelphia’s marginalized communities — will remain closed until that portion of the building can be fully repaired, officials said.

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“Fortunately, no materials were damaged in Parkway Central Library’s rare books department,” said Kaitlyn Foti-Kalosy, a spokeswoman for the Free Library. “The team in the specialist department and collection care reacted quickly after discovering the leak and removed all objects from the affected areas and stored them.”

The collection of rare photos, scrapbooks and documents from Philadelphia’s underrepresented groups living in the chronic resistance Exhibits — funded by a $600,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in 2020 — are also protected, Foti-Kalosy said.

The rare books section first posted about the leak on its Facebook page on Monday:

“Well, we’ve had quite a morning,” remarked one staffer. . “The combination of Hurricane Ian and roofing work on our less than 100 year old building boded ill for us. We are closed until tomorrow.”

The leak is on the east side of the Parkway Central roof above the Dietrich gallery, Foti-Kalosy said, which houses some of the leaks Chonicling resistance Exhibition, and where work has been ongoing in recent weeks to address concerns about water damage from misaligned drains, Foti-Kalosy is helping.

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A night watchman first discovered the water damage on Sunday, she said, alerting the department’s head of special collections, who noted on Monday that nothing had been damaged. Many of the exhibits are already encased in protective glass, she added.

“All items will be kept safe and secure until the space is sanitized and waterproofed,” Foti-Kalosy said.

There have been other leaks in the building in recent years — all of which were immediately fixed with routine maintenance and repairs, Foti-Kalosy said — including one that damaged some rare Bibles, which were then treated by the department’s collections care team.

Following the series of leaks, the Free Library commissioned a full roof assessment earlier this year, Foti-Kalosy said. Last week, just days before the leak, they embarked on a $500,000 equity project to revamp the rare book department.

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“The facilities team believes they have identified the source of the leak and stopped it,” she said.

The Dietrich Gallery is a temporary exhibition gallery that enables the Freie Bibliothek to host larger exhibitions, e.g chronic resistance. In addition to the rare materials, the exhibition features original artworks by curatorial grantees, photographs from the library’s collection of Prints and Pictures and Rare Books, and loans from other Philadelphia collections. All of the region’s private donors and institutions were immediately notified of the leak, Foti-Kalosy said.

“These objects were immediately assessed and found free of damage,” said Foti-Kalosy.

Roofers, she said, will be on site Thursday to fix the gallery roof.

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