Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Helping Gulf Coast Libraries Rebuild

During the week of October 24-30, the Greenfield Library will be accepting contributions that will be sent directly to the Louisiana Library Disaster Fund and the Rebuild Mississippi Library Fund. Greenfield will be joining with Massachusetts libraries statewide to support efforts to rebuild Gulf Coast libraries. Cash or checks payable directly to those groups may be left at either the main desk or the children’s desk during the week.

Library buildings and book collections were among the many casualties of Hurricane Katrina. In Louisiana and Mississippi, at least 25 libraries are gone or damaged beyond repair. Still unknown is the extent of damage to collections, computers, and furniture. Despite these losses, public libraries have been providing an amazing variety of services in this emergency. In evacuation centers, librarians solicited computers from libraries nationwide and set up hundreds of PCs to help evacuees find information about missing loved ones, shelter, emergency health care, relocation, employment, government aid forms, and other information. Librarians held impromptu storytimes to keep children occupied and set up TVs in the library to watch reports as they unfolded. Bookmobiles delivered books and magazines to hospitals and shelters. Libraries have served as temporary nurseries, mental health clinics, and headquarters for handing out phone cards. In responding to the havoc wreaked by Hurricane Katrina, public libraries demonstrated that they are essential to their communities in times of emergencies.

Those who recognize and support the role of libraries in their community are encouraged to stop by the Greenfield Library and make a donation to rebuild Gulf coast libraries. This project is sponsored by the Greenfield Library in collaboration with the Massachusetts Library Association. For further information, please call the Library at 772-1544.


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