Volunteers Help Next Page Books Weather Flood

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Large sand barriers have successfully protected downtown Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where Next Page Books is located, as the Cedar River crested at just under 22 feet on Tuesday, well over the 12 feet that marks the flood stage, reported the Des Moines Register.

Next Page Books surrounded by plastic and sandbags to protect from floodThe river remains in major flood stage, but as levels decrease, officials are projecting that those in the flood zone may be able to return to their homes and businesses as early as Friday.

“While the street is dry, thus far, there’s no telling what’s going on underground or in basements. Our fingers are crossed that we’ll all survive the flood,” said Next Page Books owner Bart Carithers. The store is just three blocks north of a flood wall, in the historic New Bohemia (NewBo) district.

In preparation for the flood, Next Page Books asked for the help of volunteers to clear out the store, which is located in the historic C.S.P.S. Hall, formerly the cultural center for the local Czech-Slovak Protective Society. Other businesses in the building evacuated as well.

Next Page Books emptied its store in anticipation of the flood.Books were removed from the building and sent to a climate-controlled location, and bookshelves, furniture, and office equipment were relocated to the C.S.P.S. auditorium.

Next Page Books also encouraged volunteers to assist other small businesses at risk. “Residents have turned out in huge numbers to volunteer all across the city,” said Carithers.

Additional volunteers will be recruited to move shelves, furniture, and books back into the store once it’s safe to return. “With any luck, we’ll be open next week,” said Carithers, provided the building does not sustain damage from basement flooding. “We’re optimistic everything will turn out well.”

Next Page Books shared photos and details about the flood and the store’s preparations on its Facebook page