After Irene: A small-town Adirondack library needs your help

Quick How-to-Help Info: Several libraries have lost their entire children’s sections due to flooding in Hurricane Irene, and we’re teaming up with independent bookstores to help them rebuild. Want to help?  Either send a check to the library OR call the bookstores. They’ll help you choose a book based on the library’s needs and will store it for them until they’re ready, or you can donate to a gift card for the library.

To help the West Hartford Public Library in Vermont
Send a check to:
West Hartford Public Library
P.O. Box 26
West Hartford, VT 05084
Contact local independent bookseller The Norwich Bookstore at 802-649-1114. to purchase books and/or contribute to a library gift card.
To help Wells Memorial Library in Upper Jay, NY

Send a check to:
Wells Memorial Library
P.O. Box 57
Upper Jay, NY 12987
Contact local independent bookseller The Bookstore Plus at 518-523-2950 to purchase books and/or contribute to a library gift card. Authors & Illustrators may also donate signed books & original art for an October fundraiser. Click here for details.
Thanks SO much to all who have already donated. The response has been amazing, and the library’s story has spread to NPR’s All Things Considered, GalleyCat, and too many blogs, Facebook pages, & Twitter feeds to count. Truly…thank you.
Now the story that prompted this blog post…


My heart just about broke on an afternoon drive today.

I’d gone with my meteorologist husband to take photographs of flood damage in Essex County, just to our south. Roads were washed out, bridges closed or in pieces, familiar sights to anyone who’s seen news coverage coming out of Vermont this week.  But these tiny towns along Adirondack rivers haven’t gotten much media attention.

“Go on up ahead,” one town supervisor told us from his pickup. “You need to see Upper Jay. It’s awful.”

We made our way through roads that were down to one lane, and took detours when there was no road.

“I hope the library fared okay,” I told my husband as we drove. The Wells Memorial Library is small, but it’s charming and has a ton of heart. One of my first-ever author events happened at this library, a cozy, casual reading sponsored by the Adirondack Center for Writing. I remember watching kids coming in to choose books, right before the event started.  You can tell when kids feel at home in a place, when they know it’s truly their library, and these kids did.

But as we got closer to the library today, we saw more and more scenes like this.

The AuSable River,  so peaceful today, had turned into a raging flood when Irene passed through over the weekend. See the mark in the middle of the zero on this speed limit sign?

That’s how high the water came.

As we drove around a bend in the road today, my husband slowed down. “Whoa…look at all the stuff in front of that house.”

But it wasn’t a house. It was the library.

They lost virtually their entire children’s collection. All of the picture books.

“They were all on the lower shelves,” library director Karen Rappaport explained, “so the kids could reach them.”

She looked at the heap of books in the yard, then out toward the river, quiet in the background today, and shook her head. “We’ve just never seen anything like this.”

She let us walk through the building to see just how devastating the flood waters had been. Old books and documents from the library’s special collections were spread out on tables to dry.

An attempt to save what could be saved…

But so much couldn’t.

At one point during our visit, a small cheer rose up from a corner of the library. Karen had discovered five dry picture books, high on a cart, waiting to be reshelved. “Look!” she showed me. “Paddington.”

This part of the Adirondacks isn’t a wealthy area, and many families are dealing with devastating losses of their own right now.  So often, the library is a refuge for families in times like this, so it’s sad to think of this community’s kids not having books to read.

Paddington is a start. And I’m sending a set of all my kids’ books to be part of the library’s new collection.

Would you like to help, too?  Here’s how we can rebuild the children’s collection of a small Adirondack library…

Editing to add… I spoke with a member of the library’s board of trustees, and while limited dry storage space is available for new book donations from publishers, they are getting worried about space, so unless you’re a publisher or author, please don’t send additional boxes of books to the library. Instead, consider donating in one of these ways…

1. Send a monetary donation. Checks may be made payable to the Wells Memorial Library and sent here:

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

2. The Bookstore Plus, a terrific independent bookstore in nearby Lake Placid, NY, has set up two options for folks who want to donate books:

1. 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. You can also order online.

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.


Authors & illustrators: The Bookstore Plus is organizing a fundraiser for October, and they hope to include a silent auction of signed books and original art by children’s book illustrators. If you would like to help by donating a signed book or original artwork, check out this link for more information.


Children’s Book Editors & Publishers: If you’re cleaning out the shelves of new children’s books in your office & would like to send a care package, it would be most welcome. Please send it to the library address above if using USPS, or for UPS, to this address:

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


Thanks in advance to anyone who’s able to help!

One more thing…I suspect that Upper Jay and West Hartford are  not the only community libraries that lost much of their children’s collections when Irene came through.  If you know of others, and you have specific information from the library about how people can help, please feel free to comment and share that information. I’d be happy to add to this list so that  people interested in rebuilding community libraries throughout the flooded areas can learn how to help.


Vermont librarian Jessamyn West has a website where she’s posting lots of information about how to help Vermont libraries in need after Irene.  Please check it out and help if you can.

The Schoharie Free Library suffered flooding as well; once plans are underway to replace lost books, I’ll share information about how to help here, too.

Polly-Alida Farrington has shared a blog post with more information on NY libraries that were affected and how you can help.

And finally, thank you SO much for donating and sharing this and spreading the word. Libraries are the hearts of their communities, and these communities really needs their libraries back.

250 Replies on “After Irene: A small-town Adirondack library needs your help

  1. It might be helpful if the library made a wish list on a website like Amazon. Then instead of racking my brain thinking of what children’s books I could contribute, I could just pick some. Just a thought!

    1. That’s a great idea – I’ll touch base with the librarian when I can to see if she’d like to do that. Right now, I think, the need is just so great. They are starting over.

      1. Hi. I am Elena Monaco from Upper Jay. I live in Ohio now and i am unable to come home to help. I would like to talk to my local library and see if they would be willing to come up with some help. If they can. they have a book sale every year to get rid of books and maybe with help from other local Librarys book could also be sent. I am taking all the info to my local Library allong with the pictures (as proof) we also have a local Law Collage that i can work on. If books or money is sent then Wells can pass out what they don’t need to other Librarys. let me know what else i can do. and thanks for everyones help

        1. Hi, Elena~ Right now the very best thing would be monetary donations directly to the library, or through The Bookstore Plus (518-523-2950) which is collecting for a gift card so the library can purchase books that they need. The response has been overwhelming and wonderful,but at this point, there is a concern about the library being overwhelmed by physical book donations. Thank you!

    2. Another great place to order books on-line is through Better World Books. With each purchase, they donate a book to others.

  2. The Keene Public Library (see link above) was badly damaged in the same flood about 7 miles upstream from the Wells Memorial Library. While I can’t provide a specific list of what they need replaced, I do know they suffered structural damage, and that a large portion of their collection was lost or damaged beyond repair, so monetary contributions would go a long way. I’ll follow up later once I confirm an address. Thanks for drawing attention to this very valuable cause!

    1. Thank you for letting me know this – we actually tried to get to Keene today but were turned back. Too much road damage, and the crews were working so hard to try and get things cleaned up. If you find out more about the needs – and an address – would you drop me a note? There’s a contact page on my website – – and I’d love to add that information to the post.

    2. Hi Dittie,

      The initial reports I received were that the Library in Keene was in OK shape. Please give us a call at the store to discuss. We would certainly include Keene in our efforts!

  3. I live in Illinois but visit the Adirondacks annually. The pictures of the sodden library books broke my heart. (I’m a librarian…) I will send a donation!

  4. Saw this through a Twitter link and promptly went to Amazon, ordering 4 of my favorite books from childhood. 40 years on, I still remember them! Here’s hoping the kids of Upper Jay love them, too.

  5. Thanks for sharing this. I know there are so many needs out there right now, but I love books and libraries and it breaks my heart to see so many possible hours of delight destroyed by a flood. I’ve passed this on and will see what books I can send.

  6. Can you or someone from the library create an Amazon Wish List? It’s an easy way for Amazon patrons to just click an item on the list; they get charged, the book is shipped to the library. The list maker can not only list specific books, they can indicated how many.

    1. Will check into this…though I’d be more inclined to do it via IndieBound to support independent bookstores. Or possibly both… Thanks for the suggestion!

      1. Thanks for putting in a word for the indies, Kate! That pile of books broke my heart, and I’ll be calling Bookstore Plus to add to the library gift card. You’re a wonderful friend to indies and booklovers all.

        1. Thank you so much for helping, Trish! I was at the library this morning, and the whole situation is truly devastating. We were literally shoveling muddy books out of the basement – so sad. I am excited that folks are pitching in to help them rebuild, though – thanks!!

    1. Just send it to Wells Memorial Library, Rt. 9N, Upper Jay, NY 12987 – even though the library’s not open, there will be people there cleaning, and one of them can take your donation and get it into safe (and dry!) storage until the library reopens. Thank you!

  7. Thank you for putting this up.

    I will send you what I have. I think you might also look at contacting some big city and university libraries. I know they weed through their collections to rid themselves of duplicates and they either toss or donate them.

  8. Is there a chance they could open or have a PayPal account? Might be easier to give money that way than mailing checks. I would love to mail books too…but I’d rather put money right in their hands to buy the books they need than have to hassle with shipping from California!

  9. I am a used bookseller in Door County, Wisconsin and I am closely tied to my local library, so I know the importance of libraries in a community. I will be setting up a collection of funds and/or new children’s books that I can send to this library. I will also donate a percentage of my sales in September to the library to help out. I am posting it on my store’s facebook page and will draft up signage tomorrow. Thank you for letting us know about the plight of this library, some folks in Door County, Wisconsin will be offering up all the assistance we can muster!

    “Untitled” Used & Rare Books, Maps and Ephemera
    Steven P. Link, Proprietor
    20 N. 3rd Ave.
    Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235
    (920) 746-3171

    1. This is awesome – and totally just made me tear up. Thank you – thank you – thank you for the help. The folks at the library are going to appreciate it so very, very much!

  10. Can you contact them and suggest they set up their wish list as a Gift/Bridal Registry? That way, once someone buys a particular book, it’ll be checked off. Otherwise, they’re likely to get a bunch of duplicates, but not get others they want.

    Another suggestion is to set up a PayPal account to collect online donations, which they can then spend on what they need.

  11. Hi there, I just started a group on Facebook for NH residents to help NH and vt flood victims. I will share this post!

    1. Thank you! And if you learn of other libraries in the same situation, please let me know – I would like to add their info on how to help to the article. Thanks again!

  12. What about like-new-condition used books? My daughter has outgrown some of hers and would love to see them go to people who want them.

    Regardless, I’ll be making a donation of some sort.

  13. Instead of turning to to purchase books, perhaps the independent bookstores in the region might be able to support a drive to resupply books, and keep the business LOCAL. Go to and there is even a tab to create a wish list. The Norwich Bookstore in Vermont is trying to help as many affected libraries as possible with discounted books. Please try to think local first…

    1. This is actually what I’ve been suggesting, too, Liza – thanks. Do you know if IndieBound allows for a registry type wish-list where items are crossed off as they’re ordered?

  14. Will they accept Gently used books, my 5 year old holds then in great regard. WE were just going to go through her picture books, now that she can read. The bools look brand ner, od a brand new as you can get with a few readings, pages all intact, not torn or crumpled. I would love to donate them to a wonderful cause.

    1. Hi, Elizabeth – At this point (I just got off the phone with the library) they are a little overwhelmed with actual book donations that are on the way and have asked that folks hold off on mailing any additional books. For now, the best way to help is through the local indie, which is using a library wish-list to gather titles that people purchase & donate. Thanks!

  15. I wish this appeal could be emailed, for I’d email it to my many friends who would be happy to support the library’s efforts. Better still, too bad there’s not a web site with a list of libraries who suffered losses as a result of the flood and who might need help. If I had a resident webbie, I’d do it, but I don’t know the first thing about creating web sites or administering them.

  16. I wonder if We Give Books would help? Maybe it could be a campaign of theirs? I retweeted the link to this post. Best wishes for a speedy recovery.

  17. Kate,
    Thanks so much for this blog post. The photos are heartbreaking.
    It’s so hard to see people who cherish and share books suffer such a loss.
    I’ll do what I can to spread the word.
    My friends and I visited Keene in May and fell in love with the town and Jay at Dartbrook Rustic Goods.
    We’re very worried about the town and area, and it’s so good to have this way to help.
    Thanks again.

    1. Kitty, It’s so lovely to hear someone speak so highly of my hometown (I was raised in Keene from age 7, and my parents live there still). I know Dartbook Rustics was right on the verge of the flooding; they may have suffered some damage too – but the library directly across the street was hit hard. In the link below, you can see the library in the background in a few of the shots, and just think – this was about 6 hours before the high water mark!

  18. I am the treasurer at the library. For the one who wanted a UPS address, it is 12230 State Route 9N, Upper Jay, NY 12987. Thank you for this wonderful tribute to our little library. We appreciate all the support and appreciate you, Kate.

    1. Thanks, Phyllis – I’ll update the post with this information. And I’m also going to touch base with Marc and Sarah at The Bookstore Plus tomorrow to see if they might be able to help with folks who would like to order a book locally to donate. They could also keep track of what’s already been ordered and such, if they’re game. I’ll keep you posted.

      I’ve heard that Keene Library also needs help, but Tom and I were turned back before we got that far today. Do you have information about the best way to help their library as well? Thanks!

  19. You are right, this is a heart-breaking sight. I’m a retired librarian, so I know how important it is for children to have books available. In small towns like this, I’m sure the library budget is quite tight already. Even if there is insurance, the deductible is probably high so not all is covered.

      1. Talk to Powells in Oregon. I know they toss books that don’t sell after a certain time. They are also a great place to buy from-local and small as well as a bookstore called The Secret Garden in Ballard, WA. Will they accept paperbacks of YA? (our library dosen’t). Thanks!

  20. I’m going to try to gather books and send them (asking other people in my town and family, etc.).

    Are you willing to accept books that are in very good, excellent, or like-new condition? I have three hardcover children’s picture books in excellent condition that I was planning on sending. I think others who have kids who have outgrown their books might be able to donate also, if they will accept very good condition.

    Also, are other children’s materials needed? I have three of the Harry Potter books on tape in original boxes in very good condition — that would be for older kids, but I thought it might still be useful?

    1. Right now, the library doesn’t have a PayPal account, but by later today, there should be something set up so that people can purchase books through a local bookstore and/or purchase library gift certificates via credit card. I’ll add that to the post as soon as it’s set up. Thanks!

  21. As a librarian, (and a YA/children’s librarian, at that!) this just breaks my heart. Even though I can’t give now I’m sharing this link with everyone I know in the hopes that spreading the word will help.

  22. My Company EDC Publishing, who publishes Usborne & Kane/Miller books will match all donated funds by 50% through their Literacy for a Lifetime program. I would be happy to provide Wells Memorial Library all of the information necessary. With this program, the library is able to choose specific books that they need. EDC will match ANY dollar amount donated by 50% once they have a min of $200. Please contact me at if you would like additional info. I have some books ready to send out tomorrow for them too! Every little bit helps and it is wonderful to see all of this support!!

  23. This story really touched my heart and I feel I am being led to do what I can to help. If you cannot purchase from bookstores local to where this tragedy happened. Please check out my website I am an Independent Distributor for Usborne Books & More. You can send any books purchased directly to the bookstore and I will commit to sending any and ALL commission in your name from those orders to the library as well to help them fill in the gaps with books they are missing and help in their recovery efforts. For verification of funds sent please send me a quick email and/or make a note of it in your order (my email is I will also be putting together a box of books I have on hand and will be ordering to send them so if you would like to save on shipping I can also input your order with others and mine so they receive even more. I can provide any and all verification so you absolutely know that the books and commissions get to the library. (My company specializes in educational and fun books for children from infants to teens and we even have a good clearance and sale section for any budget )

  24. what a sad story, here’s hoping we can all work together to give it a happy ending. i have 3 kids with lots of books, will be happy to send some.

  25. Kate–My sister lives right around the corner from the library. Her house was decimated by the flood. As we pass the library daily to help her, my heart hurts. My mother was a school librarian,then archived for years at the KV library and used the Wells Memorial Library til her death last year. They were wonderful to her and to us. Over the years, we’ve donated books to their collection and to their ongoing book sale. I am so happy that you wrote this piece. Small libraries are like the Little Engine That Could. I am a retired preschool/early elem teacher and a great lover of books. I can’t imagine… I will pass the word and am planning to both gift and donate.Thank you so much.

    1. Thanks for spreading the word, Edith – and I hope your sister is keeping spirits up. It’s so sad to see that whole, beautiful area hurting so much.

  26. I am a teacher. This will be a fun project for my students. We will get something going in my classroom and I will spread the word. Can you use paperback books? I have a lot of paperback books that I purchase inexpensively to give to my students as birthday gifts. They aren’t as durable as hardback or library bound books.

    1. Thanks, Stacey! Right now, we’re concentrating on monetary donations & new hardcovers to help the library rebuild without being totally overwhelmed, but I will post if that changes.

  27. Kate, do you need some help setting up a site for donations to libraries who were hit in VT & NY? I would be happy to volunteer my time to setup PayPal & wish lists for different libraries affected if that helps you. I build websites for a living & I would gladly donate this. Please email me if this works for you:

    1. Do you have specific information about any Vermont libraries that suffered similar losses? If so, please let me know & I’ll add that info, and I’ll certainly link to anything you’d like to create, too.

      1. Kate, I’ll certainly do my homework and see who else needs help. I’ll also check w/ IndieBound to see how we can setup accounts for each library and funnel them through the site. I’ve built a prototype that I private messaged to you. I’ll keep working on it and should have it live by tomorrow.

  28. Thanks a lot for this blog entry. It breaks my heart whenever kids get deprived of books, especially when they might have lost their homes and environments as they knew them. Books aren’t just a way out of harsh reality. Simply having books around also increases the chances of a child going to college later drastically, and we all know how crucial it is these days to get an education as high as possible.

    I’m not living in the US or anywhere close, I don’t have kids books in English and don’t know what books libraries usually stock, what kids love etc. Therefore a wishlist would really help, I’d just try to ask bookdepository to ship directly to the library instead of having it shipped to me, as that’d be quicker and save unnecessary shipping fees.

    The only book I could think of right away was “A Little Princess” by Frances Hodgson Burnett as it’s a story about hope in hard times and it might give similar hope to the kids, but it’s not a picture book. :/

    1. Thank you – I’m working with an independent bookstore nearby, and by later on today, we should have something set up so people can call there or order online to send books via a wishlist. Will add that to the post when I have all the info – thanks. And yes…I think A Little Princess would be much appreciated, too.

  29. I’m putting the word out to my readership. So often Florida is the target of hurricanes and the rest of the world comes to our rescue. Hope some of the Florida authors who read my blog will come to your rescue.


  30. Hi Kate! I mentioned your plea to the writers for my website, We get a lot of kids books to review, and some extras will be sent up to the address you gave. It was also suggested that we ask Neil Gaiman to tweet a request for books — but I was wondering if that might bring too big a response. Is there any way to coordinate a larger number of books that could be distributed to several libraries that might need them?

    I know it’s not your area, but I’m also reading about destruction in the Mohawk Valley, where I did a lot of library visits this summer. I’m wondering if any libraries there need help as well. Thoughts?

    1. I’ve put out a call for information about other libraries that suffered similar losses & so far have only heard about Keene, NY nearby – hoping to have information from them later on so that I can add them to the list to receive donations. If you’re able to learn more about other libraries who lost book collections in Irene, please do let me know. Thanks!

      And yes…I do think it’s a good idea to look to folks like Neil Gaiman for help, too – I’m going to hold off on that just until later today, though, because I’m about to get something in place with a local independent bookstore that will make it easier for the library to share what it needs and for folks to donate books easily. Will add that to the post when I have all the information & it’s all set up. Thanks!

      1. Most areas in the Schoharie & Mohawk valleys are not really online yet. Websites aren’t updated, people aren’t reading blogs much. I strongly suspect we’ll hear about more destroyed libraries as those small towns get re-connected to things.

    2. Most of the severe damage was east and north of the Mohawk Valley, Kathy. I haven’t heard yet of local libraries damaged to this extent, but will check today. If I can, I’ll copy and print some of the pictures, put together a flyer, and post it at our local library with contact info. It breaks my heart to see all this damage…

  31. I have never gotten rid of my daughter’s childhood books and I know you have a need. The problem is the shipping. Does anyone know a company that might help with the shipping costs?

    1. No…and to be honest, there’s a greater need for monetary donations than for actual books right now. Maybe hold off on these for a bit and see how things are going? Thanks so much for your support, though!

  32. My Company EDC Publishing, who publishes Usborne & Kane/Miller books will match all donated funds by 50% through their Literacy for a Lifetime program. I would be happy to provide Wells Memorial Library all of the information necessary. With this program, the library is able to choose specific books that they need. EDC will match ANY dollar amount donated by 50% once they have a min of $200. Please contact me through my website if you would like additional info. I have some books ready to send out tomorrow for them too! Every little bit helps and it is wonderful to see all of this support!!

  33. Kate, while I live in the southern Adirondacks, I know that the towns of Middleburgh and Schoharie in the Catskills were also hit hard, and that the Middleburgh Library was also devastated. I will be sending sets of my Guardians of Elestra books to Wells, Keene, and these other libraries, and I hope that if anyone hears about other libraries similarly affected, they will post the information to your site. Another author from the Capital District is putting together a list of libraries affected by the storm. I’ll post information about the efforts to help these libraries to all of the Capital District homeschool groups, and hopefully we can get a group of kids together to organize a book/money drive to help.

      1. Thom, the message I put on our homeschool list this morning was about Kate’s effort here. The Daily Gazette reports that Schoharie Library lost 3/4 of their entire collection, although they didn’t ask for donations as they’re still cleaning out. Haven’t gotten word about the Middleburgh Library yet — the building is new and is set high, so they may have escaped. But the town itself has been hit hard, from what I’ve heard and read.

        Kate, I’ll keep you posted. By the way, author John Scalzi just tweeted about your post!

        1. I work at the library system headquarters that serves Schoharie County. Both the Middleburgh Library and the Schoharie Free Library did sustain major damage due to the flooding. Schoharie had a basement full of water as well as approx 27″ of water on their first floor. Middleburgh, while the building does sit quite high compared to others in town, was not spared and did take on water, though we still do not have concrete details since communications and electricity in both towns are still out. Neither library can accept donations of materials at this time due to the conditions of their buildings – they have no place to put what is being salvaged, much less take on new materials.

          1. Do you have a local independent bookstore? I’d love to set up something like we’ve done with The Bookstore Plus for the Upper Jay Library – they’re taking calls from people who want to help and either helping them choose books to purchase and donate (the bookstore is holding these until the library is ready) or accepting donations for a gift card for the library. If we can get something like this in place, I’ll post about it here – just let me know. Wishing you all the best as you clean up and begin to rebuild.

  34. Jeremy here, one of the librarians at LibraryThing. We and our members would love to be helpful here too; I’ve set up a wiki page to track needs and ways to help. Anyone with information should feel free to add to that, or just email me and I’ll be happy to update the page.
    – Jeremy

    1. Thank you! The best way to help right now is with a check to the library or a donation via The Bookstore Plus, which is helping people choose books to purchase to donate and also collecting for a gift card for the library – they’re 518-523-2950. Thanks!

  35. wow! I’m floored that a library could be so destroyed by Irene. My heart goes out to them. The library was one of my fave places as a kid and as an adult I still love it. I’m going to post this on twitter to spread the word — I hope that the library will return to it’s post storm state with a little more heart and love!

  36. I think supporting independent book stores is a fabulous idea. I think it would be great if there was an Amazon wish list for people to shop for because that would allow people to shop with cash. Amazon gift cards are readily available and coin star machines allow you to get a gift card for your change. I imagine there would be several people that would be happy to turn some of their change into books.

  37. I work for a national nonprofit called First Book. We provide new children’s books to ANY school, library or program that serves kids from low-income families.

    We’d love to help the Wells Library – and any other programs affected by the storms that need books. We are able to offer both free books and low-cost books, all brand-new and high-quality. Just sign up at and let us know what you need. (Kate, you can sign the library up, as long as you know their basic information).

    In the meantime, I’ll see if I can round up some books from here in the office; we often get promotional copies of new books.

    Good luck, Wells Library! You obviously have some good friends working to help.

    Brian Minter
    First Book

  38. Hi there…our church embarked on a similiar project after Katrina. It was a wonderful way to get our children all involved. I would strongly urge the librarians (plural as I think many small town libraries will have this issue) to do lists on Amazon. We had to set it up like a wedding 🙂 but it really helped.

    1. Right now, we’re working through The Bookstore Plus in nearby Lake Placid so that folks can support local businesses, as the whole area was hit hard by the storm. Thanks!

  39. I have ridden through that area many times on my motorcycle, it is beautiful.

    Have they got a PayPal account? If not could one be set up for those of us in Ontario, Canada that would like to help them out?

    A loss of any book is heart breaking, especially kids books.

  40. I suggest calling The Little Book House @ Stuyvessant Plaza and seeing if they’d take up a collection – maybe they’d offer 15% off for picture books purchased and left at the store for library donations, or something? And they could ship it up there or something… (They’re also associated with Market Block Books in Troy)

    1. We’re actually doing this through the local bookstore – The Bookstore Plus in Lake Placid – so it won’t involve so much shipping. thanks!

  41. Kate, thanks so much for posting about this. I will send a replacement hardcover Library Lion, along with some other books, to the Wells library, and would love to donate to Keene as well, once you have info on that. My boyfriend’s family owns land in Keene Valley, and I worked on my MFA thesis in the Keene library a couple of summers ago. I’m so sad to hear about the damage, but heartened by all the generous responses and wishes to help. Once you have the local bookstore donation info, I’ll definitely repost it and spread the word.

  42. Kate, this outpouring is so amazing. I’m posting to my folks, too, and sending a care package of new books via Indie Bound. Thank you, as always, for organizing people and making good things happen.

  43. I lived in Rutland VT with my family between 1979 and 1984 before moving back to NH as a result of a transfer with New England Telephone. My children were only 5 and 2 at the time and began their education in a one room school house for which they never forgot to this day. We all love Vermont and consider it to be one of the loveliest places we have ever lived. I will be sending a monetary donation and have posted this story on my FB page to touch all of my friends and their friends. With school just beginning, it would be nice if some of the elementary school teachers out there could start a little book collection campaign to help our little friends in Vermont.

  44. I am a branch manager of a library system near Atlanta, Georgia. As a former children’s librarian I have a rather large personal collection of new condition picture books. These include authors such as Kevin Henkes, Denise Fleming, Eric Carle, Maurice Sendak. I collected Caldecott and Newbery winners. They will be boxed and sent.
    Thanks for posting this story.

  45. Thanks so much for the post! I blogged about it here! We’ll be sending new books to both your library and West Harford in VT. Every little bit helps!!
    sarah jane

  46. As a current library science graduate student, and as someone who used to work in a private school library, I am going to spread the word to friends and colleagues via e-mail and facebook. I spoke with Dawn, a staff member with the Clinton-Essex-Franklin Library System. She directed me to the president of the Board of Trustees for Wells Memorial Library, Marie-Ann Azar. In speaking with Marie-Ann, I learned that 30-40% of the entire collection, not just the children’s picture books, has been destroyed by flooding. (While I didn’t ask Marie-Ann’s permission to post everything here, I’m going to take my chances. It’s for a good cause and she didn’t say anything was confidential!) She encourages monetary donations at this point for several reasons. For each damaged book, they tore off the barcode. The computers in Wells are destroyed and they will be relying on other computers in the library system to access the catalog for deaccessioning the damaged books. Until this is done, they don’t know what they’ve lost and need to replace. Rather than ten copies of one book being donated, the best effort would be in the form of a check. Also, there’s no place to store the new books at this time. The books that are alright have been moved off site for dry storage. Wells Memorial also has a heating system that is filled with mud/silt/water and will need to be replaced. For the foreseeable future, it sounds like the building will be undergoing repairs. It’s also my understanding from Marie-Ann that while they were insured, it was only for $15,000. They know they can likely get FEMA aid, but it appears to be a long wait for that.

    1. Thanks, Elizabeth – This is different information than what the library director told me on-site yesterday. Right now, the Bookstore Plus is taking (and holding) donations until the library’s ready to reopen, and they’re also letting people donate to a gift card for the library for when they’re ready to order.

  47. Nothing makes us sadder than a library with no children’s collection. We’ll be sending books asap!

    Random House Children’s Books

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  49. For those of you looking to donate: is worth checking. Several Sellers have Brand New books for under $5. This one in particular has a ton of children’s books for very cheap.
    Here’s a guide on Children’s books as well
    I am not in any way affiliated with any of the sites I mentioned for books; I just thought the info might be helpful to those wanting to help.

  50. Hi Kate!

    I received the link to this story from a friend and just had to help. I am sending off a large box (close to 40 children’s books) by FedEx today. They are all new-used and in excellent shape. They are coming from Ontario so they’ll be a few days I’m sure. I know it’s just a drop in the bucket of what they need to replace, but hopefully it will help restock those horribly empty shelves!


  51. Thanks for organizing this effort and providing the information. As the daughter of a librarian, an avid reader, and a mom of a little girl that loves books, this was sad to read. I just called the Bookstore Plus to make a donation and she said they’ve been getting all sorts of calls this morning – so great work! I found this link on Facebook and reposted to my page to help get the word out. I will check back on info for the Keene library.

    1. Thanks, Katherine – word out of Keene this morning is that the libraries are okay. West Hartford, VT was hit hard but isn’t ready for donations yet.

  52. I am a librarian in a public library on Long Island and I collected many children’s books from public libraries all over Long Island to help with an area school that suffered a fire and I have leftovers from that. These are used books in good condition that were withdrawn from the libraries’ collections. I have many, many boxes (20-30) in a storage unit. Would any of the libraries be interested in these donations? I would be happy to UPS them at my own cost.

    1. Let’s hold off on these for now, okay? The flood of help has been pretty overwhelming, and I am starting to worry a little about the library’s ability to handle big donations. I will make sure the library director sees this, and I’ll have her touch base. Thank you!!

      1. Please feel free to give my contact info to any library that would be able to use these books I collected.

  53. Hello. I am deeply sorrow to hear about that–I love books dearly, too. I’m more than happy to help. Just. Is there a upper limit to how many books I can send? Becaues I was thinking of getting my high school invloved. Talk to the principal and the student council, and anyone else I can. Get the word out. I doubt any money will be sent. I am sorry about that fact. I’ll see what I can do, though. I apprecaite you getting back to me.

    Meanwhile, I’ll be getting in touch with everyone that I can.

    1. If you’re involving a group – to be perfectly honest, a fund raiser and monetary donation (or donation to the gift card via the Bookstore Plus, which is taking donations) would be better than a large volume of books. Thanks!

  54. I was glad to hear that they will accept gently used hardcovers as well. It’s a good move from a “green” perspective too! I will look through my daughters’ shelves for some to send. They are “spoiled” by grandparents who want them to be great readers so we are sure to have several.

  55. As a librarian-in-training, this breaks my heart, especially knowing how tight funding is. Is it possible to donate gently used children’s books? I have many my children have outgrown that that are in perfect condition and I would love to help out.

  56. Thanks so much for sharing this info. We absolutely want to help out, so we’ve added an option for our customers to donate to the effort to rebuild the library for the entire month of September on our website,

    When we end the book drive at the end of the month, we’ll use the money raised to buy & ship books to Wells Memorial and any other libraries we learn about during the course of the month.

    For more info, check out our blog here:

    We wish everyone at Wells Memorial the best!!

    1. Rather than collecting money and shipping books, it would be great if you’d consider sending a check or working through the local bookseller, The Bookstore Plus, which is collecting donations for a gift card the library can use to purchase exactly what it needs. Thanks!

  57. Good news. We have been receiving updates from all libraries in the Clinton Essex Franklin Library System. The Keene Library reports that it managed to stay dry, despite the widespread damage in the rest of the town.
    Our library began collecting $ donations for the Upper Jay library on Wednesday. We also will be giving all proceeds from our book sales for the month of September.

  58. Sending some classics your way including “Dear Zoo”, “Make Way for Ducklings”, “Katy and the Big Snow” and a variety of Tommie DePoula, Eric Carle and H.A. Rey. Will be in the mail tomorrow morning.

  59. I can imagine she is quite busy at the moment and may not have very much time – I’m a children’s librarian downstate on Long Island (crying at the moment because Library Lion was the book my Aunt gave me when I entered library school), and I wouldn’t mind making up a quick list of popular picture book titles – some things are universal after all. Checking out the best sellers on Barnes and Noble (and then buying from an indi book store) or even is a good place to start — are of course, the Caldecott winners.

    Is there a way someone (and I’d offer up myself if the (wo)man-power is needed) could keep a list of what’s been donated already? Doubles of some books are great, but getting 100 copies of The Lorax, while awesome, isn’t quite helpful in this instance.

    Sorry, I may be over thinking this from a librarian’s point of view – and I DONT want to discourage anyone. More books is better than no books….

    1. Diane, The Bookstore Plus, an independent bookseller in Lake Placid is working with us so people can purchase books to donate through them (or donate to a gift card for the library) and they’re keeping track of what’s already been purchased. Thanks!

    1. There isn’t an official “wish list” just yet, but The Bookstore Plus (I added information on this to the blog post this morning) is working with us now, so when people purchase books to donate through them, they can keep track of what’s already been purchased.

  60. I have a library for children in a small Costa Rican Community. To get books written in Spanish, I found my money goes further when buying groups of books from e-bay. There is much more offered in English. While they are not all new, all I have purchased have been in very good condition. It is a great way to get books for less. My husband also suggests that the library contacts the headquarters of Borders. Since they are going out of business, they may be willing to donate several children’s books that are left over.

  61. Our power was just restored and I’m catching up on the web news. I’ll be donating my books and calling the bookstore, too, to check what else they’d like. Thanks so much for sharing the information so we can help these libraries recover.

  62. Please remind all donors that public libraries get a 40% or greater discount from their wholesalers (e.g. Baker & Taylor, Ingram, and BWI).

    Also, the West Hartford Public Library in Vermont suffered tremendous damage from Irene, according to a report from the Vermont State Librarian.

  63. Thanks for bringing this to our attention. It’s nice to help this library – I wish I could help the others who have faced the same devastation. It’s wonderful and admirable that Bookstore Plus is taking on this endeavor. I know that libraries in all times of need are there to serve the all kinds of people. I hope that more and more people realize the value of libraries.

  64. Sending some classics directly to the library:

    The Tiny Seed – by Eric Carle
    A House for a Hermit Crab – by Eric Carle
    Hedgie’s Surprise – by Jan Brett
    Mrs. Frisby & the Rats of NIMH – by Robert C. O’Brien
    A Wrinkle in Time – by Madeleine L’Engle

  65. I came across your site on the VT Response website, we will be sending a donation and have forwarded your site onto a friend who has connections in the publishing world.

  66. Hi,
    We’re the Dongan Hills Branch of the New York Public Library, located in Staten Island, NY. Often, patrons donate children’s books in great condition to this library. We will seek donations of new, children’s hardcover books, and will try to send them to the Wells Memorial Library once we have a good amount!

    1. Thank you! Maybe hold off on this for just a bit, though, so that the library isn’t too overwhelmed with donations of physical books all at once. I’m concerned about them being flooded (again) with books that would require sorting through when they’re already so overwhelmed. Thanks!

  67. Have you contacted the state department of libraries yet? I know that the Vermont Department of Libraries did that Monday or Tuesday and discovered how lucky we as a state were that few libraries suffered such devastating losses. If New York has a similar department, they may have more information on particular libraries.

    On a personal note: This brought tears to my eyes. I’ll be putting a donation of one sort or another in the mail.

    1. Hi, Kathy ~ West Hartford Public Library had losses similar to those in Upper Jay if not worse. I’ve set up a partnership with the nearest indie bookseller, Norwich Bookstore, so they’ll be taking calls & helping people choose books to donate based on library needs or letting them donate to a gift card. Info on that is at the top of the original blog post now, and please feel free to share. Thanks!

  68. Wow! What has happened to these libraries is horrible! What is happening, right now, on this blog page is absolutely wonderful!! This is the kind of story our news stations and newspapers should be inundated with!

    I will do my part to help out this library as well as bring attention to the need. Hopefully you will get so many books that the library will be re-stocked and you will have a lot leftover to share with the children that have lost some of their special books in the flood.

  69. They might also try contacting some jobbers, such as Bound-to-Stay-Bound and Follett Library Resources and asking if they could possibly make a donation.I know a librarian whose collection was destroyed by a fire and I know that at least BTSB donated free books (this was for an elementary collection). Picture books are so expensive, too.

    This story breaks my heart.

  70. Found out about this post on twitter and made a quick blog post! I mostly have spare ARCs (which I noticed they’re not accepting) but I’ll grab a few extra hardback books to mail. I’m glad that you made a post about it to get the word out.

  71. Thank you so much for posting this! Just sent some of my daughter’s favorites because she and I LOVE spending time at the library:

    The Tale of Peter Rabbit
    Madeline’s Christmas

  72. Would it be possible to post the shipping addresses of libraries that need children’s books in a running list format, so if anyone hosts a book drive, they could send the books to multiple places? The library in Adirondack would be the main focus (I’m thinking about hosting a book drive) but it would be great to have the addresses of other places in need!

    1. Most of these libraries aren’t ready for large-scale book donations – there’s still too much cleaning up to do – so for now, we’re focusing on donations through their local independent booksellers that can be held for them until they’re ready – or donations to a gift card so they can purchase books later on. Thanks!

  73. Sending a check, and I’ve shared this post with my friends as well. Libraries deserve all the love they can get! The outpouring of support here has been amazing. I hope all the local libraries can get what they need and re-build their collections successfully!

  74. Have you considered setting up your library as a charity on If you did that, people like me could donate their extra book points to your library and you could bank the points until you have a chance to pick books from their worldwide inventory. It could help reduce duplicates and keep you from being buried in books until you are ready for them. It would also provide an opportunity for people who don’t have much cash to spare to also help out. Many BookMoochers already donate to overseas, rural, and prison libraries through the site already. The service is free and it only takes a couple minutes to join up. I’ve been a member for a few years and I love it!

  75. There is a website called which has a list of libraries, schools and charities people can donate their bookswap credits toward. If this library isn’t on that site, you might want to check it out.

  76. I live in Arkansas and just made a donation. I put your post on FB so hopefully you willl hear from my friends. In addition, I will hit up our local library and our local school’s libraries to see if we can send some new duplicate children’s books. Good luck to you all and God bless

    1. Thank you so much! At this point (I talked with the library director tonight) they are asking people not to send boxes of books, as they are worried about storing them in safe, dry places. The best way to help right now is by sending a check to the library or through the local independent bookstore partnering with us. The Bookstore Plus (518-523-2950) will help people choose books to order and will hold them until the library is ready for them – or they’ll accept donations toward a library gift card. Thanks for spreading the word!

    2. Thank you! At this point (I just got off the phone with the library) they are a little overwhelmed with actual book donations that are on the way and have asked that folks hold off on mailing any additional books. For now, the best way to help is through the local indie, which is using a library wish-list to gather titles that people purchase & donate. Thanks!

  77. As a summer resident of the Adirondacks and a children’s librarian these pictures hit so close to home. It broke my heart to read this and see the devastation. I’ll be talking to my co-workers to see what we can do to help out. In the meantime, sending lots of love up from Massachuetts. Hang in there!

  78. I was so sorry to read about this! I sent a check to the library this morning–and will send more money again when I can. Also posted this on my blog to continue spreading the word.

    Thank you Kate for letting us all know about Wells and helping us learn how we can help.

    1. Thanks so much for the help, Sonia – I spoke with a member of the library’s board of trustees tonight, and they’re touched by the outpouring of support.

  79. I found this link on Twitter and RT’d it.

    I am a self-published author and have four titles. I will be sending them all to the library. Two aren’t available as hardcover but they are part of my set and I think the children will get a lot of joy out of them. My books are: The Great Bellybutton Cover-up, Say Please to the Honeybees, The Kit Kat Caper, and The Rose and the Lily.

    1. Thanks for the RT, Susan – at this point (I just got off the phone with the library) they are a little overwhelmed with actual book donations that are on the way and have asked that folks hold off on mailing any books. For now, the best way to help is through the local indie, which is using a library wish-list to gather titles that people purchase & donate. Thanks!

  80. Kate.

    I wrote the book “10 Minute Puppets” published by Workman Publishing. I’ve contacted them and they will be sending a whole box load of books (which I’ve now read that the store will hold til the library is ready). Plus, I have done puppet making workshops for my book at bookshops, schools, and museums. If you ever have a fund raiser for the library or just want to cheer up the families there, please let me know. I’d love to come!

    Noel MacNeal

    1. Thank you – but please do NOT mail books to The Bookstore Plus! They don’t have room for book donations – only for books that people call and purchase from them for the library’s wish-list. The donation from Workman would be wonderful, but it would be best sent directly to the library later on – probably in about two months – once they’ve had a chance to clean up and dry out.

  81. As a former library director who dealt with flooding on a much smaller scale than these libraries, I can attest to the fact that MONEY is the most needed commodity. Wallboard, carpeting and maybe flooring will have to be replaced; mold remediation is horrible expensive, and there will be another hundred costs that will arise. Please join me in sending a contribution to these libraries.

    1. Thanks, Diane – that’s what we’re hearing over and over again. I was at the library this morning, shoveling muddy books out of the basement, and the cleanup job is going to be huge.

  82. I followed your directions and am sending, via the Bookstore Plus, “Henry Climbs a Mountain.” Easy, on-line donation, and an immediate thank you from the bookstore!

  83. Is it alright to send cash? Just wondering. I’ve reblogged this and I’m going to publish it to my blog tomorrow. I also borrowed some of the book pics you had and put them in my post and I’m going to tell every book lover I know about this. Please let me know if it’s alright to send cast to the Vermont and the NY library you mentioned. I’d love to help.

    1. Well…sending cash through the mail is always risky because if it’s lost or stolen, there’s no record and it can’t be replaced. If you can do a check or donate to a bookstore gift card via credit card, though, that would be safer. If that’s not possible and you choose to send cash, I’m sure the libraries will be happy to add it to the rebuilding effort.

  84. Kate,
    Thank you so much for posting this. Writers always want to donate and you have provided a safe way that will really help this library rebuild. I’m so glad that you and your husband made the trip even though I know it broke your heart. Because of you, this library will receive much assistance in the coming weeks.

    1. Thanks, Lola – I hope so – It’s a wonderful little library, and they’re grateful for the support they’re getting from far and wide this week.

      Hope to see you soon!

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  86. Do you possibly have any idea how we could obtain mailing labels from these libraries, once they’re ready to restock their book collections?

    1. I’m not sure about this, Lindsey – probably the best thing would be to touch base with the libraries directly later on to see what they need & where to send.