Flood

Wednesday February 13th 2019

Last Wednesday, February 13th, downtown San Francisco hit a record of 2.13 inches of rain (breaking the record from about 19 years ago). We think we got even more than that in the Inner Sunset.

The rain fell onto our large, flat roof. A clogged storm drain caused the water level to rise. Eventually it began freely flowing through the seams of a roof access door. The volume of water was significant and we had to move fast. Our upstairs office become what felt like a sinking ship, with containers strewn everywhere, collecting water that was falling from our ceiling like rain. The receptacles required regular emptying every 10-15 minutes depending on their size.

The water filled the attic, collecting in pools between each structural joist, then it spilled into the walls and through the holes that house lights in the ceiling. We had to cut slits in the ceiling in order to direct the water away from our office desk. The water filled the upstairs floor. It came through the walls and ceiling, and spilled throughout the entire downstairs gallery and library.

Here’s what’s beautiful:

In the absolute chaos of last Wednesday, not a single book, work of art, record or piece of audio equipment was lost. We cannot grasp the full greatness of this blessing, but it is beautiful to acknowledge.

Only two days before the flood, we had moved the majority of our art collection into a different storage area—the one area in the whole upstairs space that did not leak through the ceiling.

A few weeks prior to the flood, we had wrapped all the audio equipment in plastic to protect it from dust as we finished some woodworking improvements to the space.

All our books were in shelving attached to the walls and were completely protected (most of the leaking came through the middle of the ceiling where water could escape through the holes that house our lights)

The Problem Library record collection was being stored in brand new boxes built by Grayson and were easily moved to safety.

Aside from relatively minor damage to wood furniture, boxes and desks, all the damage was focused on the structure, leaving everything Problem Library holds in its collection safe.

We have often described Problem Library as an example of how we wish to interact with the world around us and, most importantly, how we contextualize and relate to the problems we see and encounter. This flood in our space that has been our home for over three years is no different.

We will continue to run all our core programs as planned with the help of those who believe in what we are building.

We invite you to donate to help support our search for a temporary space and advance our key programs with the funding they need.

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