A portion of the roof at the Wells Public Library has partially collapsed, apparently because of built-up snow.

About one-quarter of the roof, covering an original portion of the library built in 1978, is sagging, Town Manager Jon Carter said Thursday. The affected area covers the entrance, the reference section and the art exhibit area. The library is closed until officials make repairs.

The newer end of the library that was added in 1992 was not affected.

Library staff noticed the sagging roof when they closed the building Wednesday and notified the facilities manager, who checked on it Thursday morning. Carter said an external inspection showed some of the trusses holding up the roof have been compromised, but a structural engineer will cut a hole in the roof and do a more thorough inspection, probably Friday, he said. The town is insured for such damage.

The cause of the collapse appears to be an imbalance between a section that had been cleared of snow and another section that had not, he said. The building has a pitched roof and has not had a problem with ice dams, he said.

“We had taken snow off part of the roof in the last couple weeks through a contractor,” Carter said. “I guess (Wednesday) when it was so warm and things melted, it condensed the remaining snow. The imbalance, we’re thinking now, created the failure.”

On Thursday, the Wells Fire Department used its aerial platform to clean the remaining snow off the damaged area, he said.

“If we can stabilize the situation, we’ll begin moving the stacks of books away from the area where this failure is,” Carter said.

The town is in the middle of a capital campaign to raise $1.5 million toward a $5.6 million expansion of the library, which would more than double its current size of 11,430 square feet. Supporters anticipate presenting a warrant article to voters for the taxpayer-supported portion.

The library is located at 1434 Post Road near the town’s school complex.

“It’s a very valuable asset,” Carter said.

David Hench can be contacted at 791-6327 or at:

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Twitter: @Mainehenchman