Help a Small-Town Library Rebuild Its Children’s Collection After Irene

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Photo by Kate Messner

Ironically, Hurricane Irene caused most of its damage after it wasn’t even a Tropical Storm any more. It’s one thing to get long, hard rains when you live in a coastal area, but it’s quite another when you live far enough from open water that the rain simply builds up because it has no place to go. That’s what happened in parts of the northeastern United States, particularly in Massachusetts, New York, and Vermont.

There’s plenty of damage in those areas that needs fixing, and relief organizations and federal, state, and local governments are working hard to make sure people have safe and healthy places to live and clean water to drink, and such. But there’s plenty of damage that’s being largely overlooked because it doesn’t put anyone’s life in danger. We at GeekDad, via a tweet from science fiction writer John Scalzi, just heard about one such case.

The library in the very small town of Upper Jay, New York, took on a fair bit of flooding from the storm, and as a result lost almost their entire children’s book section — because those books were closer to the floor so kids could reach them more easily. There are few inanimate objects sadder than books that have been rendered unreadable, as you can see for yourself above. Fortunately, there are ways you can help. From this article on the disaster:

1. Send a donation. Checks may be made payable to the Wells Memorial Library.2. Donate a new, hardcover children’s book. Picture books are needed most. They were all destroyed except the five waiting to be re-shelved and those that were signed out to homes that didn’t get flooded.

The Bookstore Plus, a terrific independent bookstore in nearby Lake Placid, NY, is helping to coordinate this effort. I talked with owners Marc & Sarah Galvin this morning, and they’ve set up three options for folks who want to donate books:

1. You can call The Bookstore Plus at (518) 523-2950, and a bookseller will help you choose a book to purchase, based on the library’s needs. They’ll keep track of what’s already been purchased. These books will be collected and stored, and when the library is ready, we’ll deliver them all at once.

2. The bookstore is also setting up a “virtual gift card” for the library. You can call and let them know you’d like to give $20 or any amount. They’ll charge your credit card and add that money to the library’s gift card for the purchase of books later on.

2. Or you can order a book online through The Bookstore Plus website, and have it sent directly to the library at the address below.

Here’s the library’s address for checks & new book donations being sent through the regular mail:

Wells Memorial Library
P.O. Box 57
Upper Jay, NY 12987

If you are sending new books via UPS, please use this address:

Wells Memorial Library
12230 State Route 9N
Upper Jay, NY 12987

There’s more info in the article, too, including a promise to provide information about another small-town library that was similarly affected.

If you can spare the books and/or money, please consider donating. Kids everywhere need to read, after all.

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