A LIBRARY has been forced to close after heavy rain caused an area of ceiling to partially collapse.

Members of the public were evacuated from Harwich Library, in Kingsway, Dovercourt, on Monday and the library closed while firefighters pumped out water that had leaked in through a damaged section of the roof.

An Essex County Fire and Rescue service spokesman said crews from Dovercourt were called to reports of a partially collapsed ceiling due to flooding at 4.20pm.

He said: “On arrival, crews found that nobody was trapped inside the premises.

“Firefighters remained at the site until 4.55pm, using a water pump to clear the building of flood water and ensure the scene was safe.”

An Essex County Council spokesman confirmed that Harwich Library has had to be closed following a leak from the roof during Monday’s heavy rain.

He said: “The leak has damaged ceiling tiles, carpets, a small number of children’s books and affected electrics in the building.

“Engineers are assessing the damage and the library will remain closed until work has been carried out and the building is dry and safe.

“All library events have been cancelled until work is complete. The leak has affected the adjoining children’s centre which has also been forced to close.

“All registration appointments due to take place at Harwich Registration Office, which is in the library, have been re-arranged to nearby registration offices.

“We apologise for any inconvenience and will the library re-open as soon as possible.”

Children’s groups run by Barnardo’s in a room at the back of the library have been moved elsewhere while the library is closed.

A Barnardo’s spokesman said: “Due to the unfortunate flooding our Baby Beginnings and Chatterpillers groups have been moved to the local clinic in Fryatt Hospital this week.”

For more information on the library visit, www.libraries.essex.gov.uk and search Harwich Library.