Helping libraries damaged by Hurricane Irene

Image, which I hope is self-explanatory, by Darien Library.

One of the first places I went after the storm was over was the local library. I was supposed to work the day earlier because our librarian literally couldn’t get to work, but then wound up not working because there was no power at the library. My local library suffered no storm damage. Other libraries weren’t as lucky. The Department of Libraries in Vermont has been terrific both in trying to contact every library as well as informing the other librarians statewide about what needs to be done, who is in trouble and how to apply for FEMA grants now that libraries are an essential service (again thanks thanks thanks to all the people who lobbied to have that done). Here are some links to people doing things that may be instructive or useful for you either in figuring out who to help or in managing crises like this in the future.

I’ve spent a lot of the past few days checking out the pages on Facebook where a lot of the communication about the recovery efforts are taking place. In case you’re curious, here are some of the pages where a lot of the local recovery work and information dispersal is actually happening

I’ll probably talk more about the upsides and downsides to using social media for this sort of thing, but the upside is it worked. People got information and they got help because they had access to things like Facebook and Twitter through their phones when they didn’t have any electricity, telephones or computers. Worth learning about.

11 thoughts on “Helping libraries damaged by Hurricane Irene

  1. Thanks Jessamyn. I’ve added some updated info to the LT wiki but we certainly are happy to add any further info as we can get it.

  2. Why not ask other libraries to send you books – – we work with the friends of the library and there are tons of quality childrens books being discarded and sold for ten cents by this nations libraries. As a librarian, you should be able to ask your collegues to send you their discards to replace your lost books. Donations from individuals are nice, but it would seem you could do better by asking your fellow librarians for help.

  3. In response to Clayton’s comment: While you are correct that other libraries could send books, right now any library dealing with flooding cannot deal with books being sent their way. They do not have the space to store them, nor the staff time to process them. My library (Howe Library, Hanover, NH) intends to help the West Hartford, VT library, but we will wait until they have dealt with the immediate crisis. In addition, many library discards are discarded for a reason — very worn out, old information, etc. We need to make certain we donate good quality materials to the libraries in need.

  4. The Norwich Bookstore, Norwich, VT, is working with the West Hartford Library to set up a fund for future book purchases as well as offering discounts to individuals who are moved to purchase new books – especially the classic picture books – for this neighborhood treasure. We know they are not ready to receive any books now, so we will help track what has been donated and store books until the shelves are ready. Aileen Gillett, the West Hartford librarian, will provide a wish list down the road, after the initial clean out is done.

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