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.