April 19, 2018

Arson Fire Destroys Iowa PL; Univ. of Georgia Library Also Torched

By LJ Staff

Libraries in Iowa and Georgia fell victim to arsonists in unrelated
incidents. Most heavily damaged was the Sioux Center Public Library, IA, which
fire department officials said was set ablaze July 22 by vandals. Director Karen
Mjorkman told the local press there was significant damage throughout the
building, which she said is in “horrendous” condition. “We’ve got books where
the covers are actually melted together, the glass is all blown out from the
heat,” she said. The 35-year-old building, say fire marshals, is a total loss,
but damage to the collection has not yet been evaluated, but 21 computer
workstations were destroyed as were numerous paper items. The building was
insured. Police are searching for the vandals responsible for the blaze, but no
arrests have been made. City officials are seeking temporary quarters to
reestablish a library for the community.

Also, a July 23 fire at the University of Georgia, Athens, also deliberately
set, destroyed the facility’s collection of historical documents pertaining to
the Internal Revenue Service, Food and Drug Administration, and the Securities
and Exchange Commission. The records are part of a public repository and easily
replaced, but the facility suffered as much as $1.5 million in damages. Though
no specific details were disclosed, state insurance Commissioner John Oxendine
determined that the fire was caused by arson and is offering a $10,000 reward
for information leading to the arrest of the guilty party.