Helping Colorado Libraries Rebuild

Most (if not all) of you know about the recent devastating floods in Colorado. If you’re looking for a way to help out, sending a few dollars toward affected libraries is a great way to help vital community organizations rebuild so they can continue to provide information during a time when community members need resources on rebuilding (and recreational material when they need a break from recovery efforts). As an added bonus, donating directly to the library means more of your money is going to meet those needs, rather than being filtered through a third-party organization that may take out a portion of your donation to cover their overhead.

These posts are probably starting to look familiar (I’ve written posts raising money for libraries after other disasters in the past), but this one hits especially close to home since, well, Boulder is my hometown. I was devastated to see the flooding in the town I love and the damage to so many places I care about, and this is a great way to give back to an amazing community that is home to so many wonderful people.

I’m working on compiling a list of libraries that have been impacted by the floods and could use help rebuilding. So far, the list is small, but if you know of a library that has been flooded and is accepting donations, please let me know in the comments so I can add it to the list! To everyone else, please donate what you can to the libraries on the list below. Every dollar helps!!

Boulder Public Library, Reynolds Branch: This branch of my hometown library is closed until November due to flood damage. Katherine, one of the friendly folks on their reference staff, said that donations can be sent through the Boulder Library Foundation site (this branch is actually the closest branch to the neighborhood I grew up in, so by helping them out you’re doing a favor for me and for my old neighbors as well as the library!)

Lyons Public Library: I emailed them earlier today as well, but given the extent of devastation here I’m not placing any expectation on when they will be able to respond. You can fill out their donation form using this link to donate to the Friends of the Library.  (Note: I put a link for an online donation page earlier, and looked more closely later and found it was for an Illinois library. I’m sure they still appreciate the donations, although they aren’t anywhere near the flooded area!)

Rebuilding Libraries After Hurricane Sandy

Update 11/8: So far, we’re up to $80 between all three libraries. I’ll keep updating totals as more people donate!

It has been a little while since I’ve gotten the chance to update here, but there are good reasons (I promise!) that I’ll be announcing to you all soon. The recent hurricane, though, was enough to knock me out of hibernation. It has been so devastating to watch the impact of the storm on communities around the East Coast, and particularly hard to see the devastation in my future home. I am absolutely in love with that area of the country and with all the people I know there, and have been trying to think of ways to really make an impact from afar. I’ve donated to the Red Cross and a few other groups, but the thing that keeps coming to mind is the success we had as a community of professionals in raising funds after the Joplin tornado.

So, this message is a plea to everyone in libraryland (and everyone who loves libraries) to show that kind of support to libraries in need. The staff are working like crazy to keep libraries open and serving as the most effective community spaces possible by providing resources, bringing in trained experts, and giving people a place to charge their phones and get out of the cold.  When the library isn’t open, library staff are going mobile to bring resources to their communities.
This is a time when our colleagues are really shining, and showing why their libraries matter to communities. I know this is something we would all do in the same position, because we love our patrons and we love our libraries, and I’m hoping we can all come together from afar and help those communities out. There is an excellent article in American Libraries Direct  that helped guide me to some resources, and I’m listing them here, along with opportunities to donate to individual libraries that have listed immediate needs on their websites. If anyone knows of other  libraries in impacted communities that are taking donations, please share them in the comments. It would be great to have our library love reach as many people as possible!

Libraries in need of assistance

Queens Library: Several libraries were damaged during the storm, and many materials were lost. These libraries are in some of the hardest-hit areas, which means their patrons need everything from FEMA assistance to outlets to charge their phones. Staff have taken bookmobiles out to bring resources to patrons and are doing some really incredible work, but they need help to rebuild their collections. Their library foundation has a donation page where you can donate using a credit card.

Brooklyn Public Library: BPL has not set up a disaster-specific donations page, but some of the branches sustained damage during Sandy, according to the BPL website. The library has a page for making donations which allows you to specify where you want to gift to go (I would recommend selecting ‘where it is most needed.’) If anyone knows of additional funding needs for BPL (or a recovery-specific funding site), please let me know.

New Jersey Libraries: The New Jersey Library Association has set up a donation page to raise funds for libraries around the state that were damaged during the storm. Like the other libraries, these folks are working hard to help communities recover, and need assistance as they begin to rebuild.

I’ve donated to each of these sites, and I hope you’ll join me today in helping out our colleagues in need. Our field is filled with passionate and awesome professionals, and I’m looking forward to seeing that in action! Once you donate, you can tweet your amount using the hashtag #sandylibraries, leave it in the comments on this post, or send me an e-mail with the amount (JuliaCSkinner at gmail dot com). I’ll update the totals as I get them in! Remember, any amount (even $5) helps–and enough small donations really add up. Thanks everyone!

Update 11/8: Reader-Suggested Sites

American Library Association site for how to help U.S. libraries after a disaster.