Rebuilding School & Classroom Libraries in Louisiana

If you’re like me, you’ve been watching the news out of Louisiana and wanting to do more to help. When whole communities are flooded, families who have lost everything are uprooted, and that can be especially tough on kids. As a result of flood-damaged schools, many students have also been displaced from their classrooms for now, and teachers & librarians have lost books and supplies. Let’s make sure those kids have beautiful books in their school and classroom libraries when they return. The losses are devastating, and the need is enormous.

flooded books

For Flooded Schools & Libraries: Here are two resources that have been brought to my attention that may be helpful to you. Check out Beyond Words, the ALA’s relief fund with Dollar General and The Lisa Libraries, which donates books to organizations that work with kids in poor & under-served areas.

For People Who Want to Help: Not all schools are ready to accept book donations right now, so donating money to this disaster relief fund set up by the Association Education Professionals of Louisiana is one great way to help.

Tanglewood Elementary lost 90% of its library books in the flood and has set up this fund for donations to help rebuild. (For libraries, this type of monetary donation is even better than new book donations because books can be selected and purchased already processed so that they’re accessible to kids immediately.)

Some schools that lost classroom libraries are ready to receive donations of new and like-new books to replace classroom libraries now. Please follow the guidelines carefully so we don’t inadvertently create more work for people who are already buried in it.

What NOT to send at this time:

*Used books, unless they’re relatively current and like new. Please do NOT send boxes of used books that have been weeded from a collection. If your classroom or family has two new copies of the Harry Potter series, and you only need one set, that’s great to donate. But please don’t send discarded books or other boxes of used books at this time. When we were working to rebuild a library in the Adirondacks after Tropical Storm Irene a few years back, we found that boxes of used books quickly become overwhelming, and many had to be disposed of. The last thing we want to do is create another job for people who are already very busy cleaning up from the floods. If this changes and there’s a need for more books, I’ll post an update here.

*Books that do not meet the needs of the specific schools to which you’re donating (and for now, those are all elementary schools). If you have YA novels to donate, please hold onto them for right now. I know of at least one high school library that lost books to the flood, and they’d love donations eventually but are not prepared to receive them just yet. I’ll update this page with more information when I can.

More schools will be added as I learn about them, but here is a start for folks who are ready to help.

Brookstown Middle School

Brookstown Middle School had as much as 5 feet of water in places.  330 students are displaced and will be hosted by Scotlandville Middle until they can rebuild. 15 classroom libraries were lost. Most students here are people of color, so diverse titles would be especially appreciated. Donations of new and like-new books can be shipped to Scotlandville since they are open and dry.

Need: New and like-new books for grades 6-8 (both MG and YA – especially diverse titles)

*Authors & Illustrators: If you’re sending your own books and would like to sign them, I think that would be lovely for students to see. You can sign “For Readers of Brookstown Middle School” or just “For Louisiana Readers.”

Send to: 

Attn: Angela Rae
c/o Scotlandville Middle School
9147 Elm Grove Garden Dr.
Baton Rouge, LA 70807

 

 

Southside Junior High in Denham Springs, LA

aerialbooks

Southside librarian Lindsay Varnado shared the photos above – one showing an aerial view of her school during the flooding and one showing what her remaining library books looked like when she and her colleagues were finally allowed back in to tour the school with a HAZMAT guide. The library is a total loss, as are classroom libraries, and new/like-new book donations will be very much appreciated.

Need: New and like-new books for grades 6-8 (both MG and YA)

*Authors & Illustrators: If you’re sending your own books and would like to sign them, I think that would be lovely for students to see. You can sign “For Readers of Southside Junior High” or just “For Louisiana Readers.”

Send to: 

Lindsay Varnado
Books for Southside Junior High
9111 Harris Rd.
Denham Springs, LA 70726

 

St. Amant Primary School in St. Amant, LA

IMG_3727

Jessica Paz, a fourth grade science & social studies teacher at St. Amant Primary School shared this photo of her flooded building, along with the news that teachers there lost their classroom libraries for grades PreK-5.   They still cannot return to their school. For now, they are teaching grades 3-5 in an old community college.

“Our rooms are bare- not even everyone has a while/chalk board. We’re having to bring in items from home to improvise an environment as normal as possible. Students don’t have any reading materials for when they finish their work or when they come into class. We also do not have a library at this location, so reading books is considered a luxury as of now.”   ~Lindsey Kelley, 4th grade teacher

Need: New and like-new books for grades PreK-5 

*Authors & Illustrators: If you’re sending your own books and would like to sign them, I think that would be lovely for students to see when they get back to school. Either “For Readers of St. Amant Primary School” or just “For Louisiana Readers” would be great. (Some books may also be distributed to other schools in need.)

Send to: 

Lindsey Kelley
Books for St. Amant
37054 Kathleen Ave.
Prairieville, LA 70769

or

Jessica Paz
Books for St. Amant
15510 Oakstone Dr. 
Prairieville, LA 70769

 

Glen Oaks Park Elementary in Baton Rouge

glenoaksglenoakslibrary

The photos above are from Glen Oaks Park Elementary, where first grade teacher Aimee Manzella Lastner lost the classroom library she’s built over the past four years. Other teachers and the library have lost books as well. Aimee says the K-2 classrooms seemed to suffer most of the losses. Her school is set up at a dry temporary location now and would appreciate donations of new and like-new books for grades K-2.

Need: New and like-new books for K-2

*Authors & Illustrators: If you’re sending your own books and would like to sign them, I think that would be lovely for students to see when they get back to school. Either “For Readers of Glen Oaks Park Elementary” or just “For Louisiana Readers” would be great. (Some books may also be distributed to other schools in need.)

Send to:

Glen Oaks Park at Banks Elementary
Attn: Aimee Manzella Lastner
2401 72nd Avenue 
Baton Rouge, LA 70807

 

Tanglewood Elementary in Baton Rouge

14111702_10210399387280671_252397028_n 14101714_10210399387200669_1520982477_n

Tanglewood Elementary in Baton Rouge also suffered devastating flood damage. The library lost nearly everything, as have many classroom libraries. Brittney Banta-Troxclair’s first grade daughter was only in class for one day before the rains began and school had to be closed. Brittney’s home was spared, so she has a safe, dry place to store donations and is working with the librarian on a book drive to begin rebuilding.

Need: 

*New and like-new books for grades K-4, including picture books, easy readers, chapter books, graphic novels, nonfiction, and middle grade books of all genres.

*Authors & Illustrators: If you’re sending your own books and would like to sign them, I think that would be lovely for students to see when they get back to school. Either “For Readers of Tanglewood Elementary” or just “For Louisiana Readers” would be great. (Some books may also be distributed to other schools in need.)

Send to:

Brittney Banta-Troxclair
Books for Tanglewood
17186 Benton’s Ferry Ave.
Greenwell Springs, LA 70739

 

Westside Elementary in Scott, LA

westsidewestsidelibrary

(Photo: Westside Elementary, by Erick Knezek in The Advertiser)      (Photo: Westside library, KFLY News10)

Westside Elementary School in Scott, LA was also severely damaged by flooding. The school library lost many books, and K-5 teachers lost most of their classroom libraries. A nearby school in the district is dry and prepared to take donations for Westside now. Truman Early Childhood Education Center is dry and prepared to accept, store, and distribute book donations for grades K-5. Books may also be distributed to other schools in need and to families that lost their books in flooding.

Need:

*New and like-new books for grades K-5, including picture books, easy readers, chapter books, graphic novels, nonfiction, and middle grade books of all genres.

*Authors & Illustrators: If you’re sending your own books and would like to sign them, I think that would be lovely for students to see when they get back to school. Either “For Readers of Westside Elementary” or just “For Louisiana Readers” would be great. (Some books may also be distributed to other schools in need.)

Send to: 

Truman Early Childhood Education Center
Attn: Anita Pool
200 Clara Street
Lafayette, La 70501

 

Sharing and Updates

If you’d like to share this information, please share a link to this blog post, which will be updated as needed. Please do not copy and paste the address for donations. There may come a time when these schools are no longer able to accept donations, and there’s no way to stop that from happening if the information isn’t being updated. Also, we expect to have information about other schools in need soon. As I hear from them and learn about needs and storage abilities, I’ll post updates here, so there will be more opportunities to help in the coming days.  If you are a teacher or librarian at another school that suffered damage and you’d like help with book donations, please send me an email via my contact form with information about what you need and when/where it can be sent. Thanks!!

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.

36 Comments

  1. Jamie Scarborough
    Posted August 21, 2016 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    Any way to set up an Amazon Wish List so we can send the books you need the most?

    • Posted August 22, 2016 at 7:42 am | Permalink

      If you’re going to go out and purchase new books, it would actually be much better just to send a check, which allows the schools to purchase what they want from where they want it. The book donation is largely for authors/illustrators/publishers, who often have extra, brand-new copies of current books sitting around and would like to donate those.

  2. Donna Mason
    Posted August 21, 2016 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

    I just ordered some books from Amazon and sent them directly to the address above. Amazon has a wish list for schools, maybe the school could set one up? Also, for the library, if they order from Bound to Stay Bound they can set up a Save our School library wish list, and they can get the books they want, processed.

    • Posted August 22, 2016 at 7:42 am | Permalink

      Thanks, Donna – I’ll ask if they’d like to do this. But in general, if people are going to go out and purchase new books, it may actually be better just to send a check, which allows the schools to purchase what they want from where they want it. The book donation is largely for authors/illustrators/publishers, who often have extra, brand-new copies of current books sitting around and would like to donate those.

      • Donna Mason
        Posted August 22, 2016 at 10:48 am | Permalink

        Good point! I canceled the order & will send $! I got caught up in wanting to help, of course they would like to pick their own books!

  3. Priya Mathew
    Posted August 21, 2016 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

    I think the zip code is 70501 (listed as 70506 in this post) according to Google and USPS.

    • Posted August 22, 2016 at 7:39 am | Permalink

      I’m checking on on this with the person who sent me the original address – thanks. I’ll update the post if needed.

  4. Donna Heald
    Posted August 21, 2016 at 10:39 pm | Permalink

    Things we learned fom Katrina:
    *Do NOT encourage book donations for school library media collections. There’s no place to store them, and they have to be processed. After K, a publisher sent boxes of encyclopedias to Miami that sat in a ship and then in a warehouse for months. Imagine the condition they were in when the boxes were opened…. Donation of money is better, because books can be ordered when the facilities are ready and will come processed and ready to go on the shelves. Also, you have no control over what people donate, which may not be what you need at all, and you have to take the time to sort and discard. You already have enough trash to clean out….
    *Insurance – if your schools have it – will pay replacement cost on what you had, not what you want new. Don’t expect to upgrade with insurance $$$.

    • Posted August 22, 2016 at 7:38 am | Permalink

      Thanks, Donna. It’s hard to imagine anyone sending unsolicited books into a flood zone with no place to store them, so it’s certainly excellent advice not to do that. It doesn’t look like you read this whole post, but if you had, you’d know that this is a specific school that has specifically requested specific book donations to replace many lost K-5 classroom libraries. Another school – a dry one – has checked to make sure they have the capacity to store and distribute those donations, and a retired librarian from Illinois has actually just offered to fly down at her own expense to help with any processing & organizing that needs to be done. It’s all under control, but I do appreciate the concern for the schools. It is indeed a big problem when people make unsolicited donations.

  5. Posted August 22, 2016 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    Thanks, Kate, for stepping up to help and for providing a way for others to help as well. You are always first in line to offer assistance when these things happen. You’re the best! Off to donate some new books now . . .

  6. DeVoe family
    Posted August 22, 2016 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    Books sent from Herndon va today! Good luck to all of you!

  7. Sue Poduska
    Posted August 22, 2016 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

    The guy at the post office said the zip is wrong. Should be 70501. Just so everyone is aware. I sent several books that would have been looking for a home anyway.

    • Posted August 22, 2016 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

      Yep – just double checked this & I was originally given the wrong zip. It’s corrected now. Thanks!

  8. Kate O'Brien
    Posted August 22, 2016 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

    Dear Kate,

    We will collect books and send by the end of next week to this school.

  9. Posted August 23, 2016 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

    I live in South Louisiana and feel so blessed that you are doing this for so many flooded schools. Luckily our schools in Iberia Parish were spared. Thanks, Kate, and everyone who donates.

    • Posted August 26, 2016 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

      Sending lots of good thoughts your way.

  10. Posted August 24, 2016 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    Books going out today. Please keep us posted as you add to this list. Thanks Kate!

    • Posted August 26, 2016 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

      Thanks! There are new schools up today if you have more books you want to donate.

  11. Posted August 24, 2016 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    I’m so glad you’re letting people know how to help. Sending packages out this week with notes of encouragement to the folks there.

  12. lcole
    Posted August 24, 2016 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    If someone wanted to send a check, to whom should it be made out to? You listed several schools that needs books, but can you list an address to a central location, so we can send a check there. Would it be better just to pick a school and write a check. I want to be sure the money goes to the right place. Thank you

    • Posted August 26, 2016 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

      There’s a general relief fund set up for Louisiana educators (link above) and one of the libraries has also set up a fund for donations to rebuild (Tanglewood- again, link above)

  13. Val Falco
    Posted August 24, 2016 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

    Kate,
    My colleagues and I spent the afternoon looking for the books we love but have doubles. Also the wonderful books we had from when we taught other grades. They will be shipped by the weekend.

  14. Amanda Petersen
    Posted August 29, 2016 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    Kate,
    I saw your page on FB about how to help some of these school impacted by the floods. I contacted Scholastic and they gave me links to a page to send information requesting donations. Please contact me and I will forward you this information. I hated to go through and input the schools information without knowing specifics. I hope this is helpful.

    • Posted August 29, 2016 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

      It’s my understanding that Scholastic is already involved in this & plans to send books.

  15. paula stout
    Posted August 29, 2016 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

    This list is very helpful. Alas, though, the information for Ascension Parish does not seem to be accurate. I called the school to ensure that I has the right spelling for Marjorie Myers (vs. Meyors) before making a significant cash donation (without needing a receipt or acknowledgement) and was given a “stall” from one of the staff members. She said that donations could only be sent through the Public Affairs channel and not a one-off to send a check, even if we did not want a tax receipt. Disappointing as this was an area where we had personal ties and wanted to make a contribution.

    • Posted August 29, 2016 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

      Paula, that name/address was provided not for cash donations but for new book donations, as was spelled out really clearly in the post. Marjorie is the person who’s organizing the new book donations at the community college for now. Please only send what’s specified here, and if you do want to make a monetary donation, you’ll see that the post also has a relief fund near the top. That’s what I would recommend, as the people who are handling book donations are not set up to take checks unless it’s specifically noted.

  16. Suzi Hoge
    Posted August 29, 2016 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

    Box of books sent to Tanglewood School today from Little Free Library #12052 in South Pasadena, Ca.

  17. Posted August 30, 2016 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

    Kate,

    Thank you so much for providing all of this information. I’ve wanted to help in some way and now I know how.

  18. Posted August 30, 2016 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

    I am an author/publisher. I will be sending new books to LA. Blessing to all who are helping with this drive.

  19. Amy Leonardi
    Posted September 2, 2016 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

    Looking to do a big book fair to send new books. I am anticipating a large amount. Which place is still in great need? Thanks.

    • Posted September 6, 2016 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

      Honestly? All of them. But maybe send to Ascension Parish because they’re serving multiple schools.

2 Trackbacks

  • Find Kate Online