An early morning fire extensively damaged the city-owned public library.
Fire Chief Dave Van Holland said firefighters responded at 4:15 a.m. to the library located a block south of the fire station in this northwest Iowa town of 6,002 people.
Flames were coming through the roof of the building when firefighters arrived, Van Holland said.
The fire appears to have started at the front of the building near an elevator and administrative offices. The cause had not been immediately determined.
"At this point the devastation to me is unimaginable," said Library Director Karen Bjorkman. "Along with losing a building, for me as a librarian and book reader, I feel like I've lost a bunch of old friends because those books are part and parcel of my life."
She said it appears most of the books will likely be saved and geneological records in the basement were not destroyed.
A state fire marshal was investigating, said City Manager Harold Schiebout.
Flames, smoke and water damaged most of the building's interior.
Firefighters covered some books but flames, smoke and water caused extensive damage.
"This was a very vital important service to the community and obviously the fire brings that to a termination here, so it's a significant loss," Schiebout said.
The library, a stone building, was built in 1968. An area for administrative offices was added in the early 1990s, Schiebout said.