Still cleaning…and still in need: An update from Wells Memorial Library

Cleanup continued at Wells Memorial Library in Upper Jay, NY today. If you haven’t yet read about the flooding that devastated the library during Tropical Storm Irene, you can read all about that (and how to help) here.

Volunteers hauled what felt like a million more buckets of mud out of the basement. That’s where the library had stored items collected for its annual fund raiser tag sale, so in addition to muddy books to shovel, there were muddy albums, DVDs, lamps, stuffed animals, board games…you get the idea. The pile of debris just keeps growing.

About the only thing that has been salvageable has been the dishes…glassware collected for the tag sale.

Volunteers have been dutifully scraping mud off plates and cups and wine glasses.  Most of these were marked just fifty cents or so for the sale, but I wondered…what if my middle school students were to clean & decorate the glassware a bit, and add the inscription “I helped rebuild Wells Memorial Library after Irene – August 2011” and then sell them for $ 5-10 each at our September open house as a fund raiser?

Needless to say, there are now two bins of slightly muddy dishes in my van, and plans are brewing.

On another happy note…donations have started to arrive. Phyllis, the library treasurer, told me today she’s already received almost $500 in checks to help the library rebuild. That’s a drop in the bucket when it comes to tens of thousands of dollars in damage…but it is a start, and it makes a difference. If you’d like to donate – and this is really the best, most flexible way to help – you can send a check to:

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

The Bookstore Plus, a great indie bookseller helping with the relief effort, has collected more than $1600 on a gift card for the library to use for book purchases once they’re ready.

Boxes from publishers and other libraries started arriving today, too. While the library is excited about all these new books, there are new flooding concerns (flash flood warning Sunday/Monday due to heavy rains) and worries about storage, so they’re asking folks to hold off on sending any more books, at least for now.  The books that have already arrived are safe and sound, though…

…in my living room.  We don’t live in the flooded area, so we’re storing these boxes until things dry out at the library. My daughter volunteered to make a list of what’s there to avoid duplication when books are purchased. And the truth is…after shoveling mud-drenched hardcovers for two days, it’s lovely to see some beautiful, clean, dry books that will soon be in kids’ hands in Upper Jay.

Please do remember, the Upper Jay library is one of several in need of help right now.  Here’s all the information about how you can make a difference.

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.

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.

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

Thanks, all, for sending donations and for spreading the word.  Libraries matter so much – more than ever when communities are facing times like these.

6 Replies on “Still cleaning…and still in need: An update from Wells Memorial Library

  1. You know I bet if you don’t sell out of the glassware at your open house, you could probably sell them online as well. I’d certainly buy one.

    I donated $25 to both libraries today. Only wish I could do more.

    Thank you, Kate for doing all of this. I can just imagine Gianna Z and Zig beside you, digging out the mud and the muck.

    1. That’s a great idea, Chris – thanks! And thanks for helping out the libraries – their communities need them back.

      I love the idea of Gianna and Zig shoveling mud – they’d definitely be game to help! Ruby, too. (Maybe not Bianca, though…she’d ruin her fingernails…)

  2. Hi! I learned about you and the libraries in need from a weekly newsletter. I already posted a link on my facebook and will be looking at my collection to send to the libraries as well as sending a donation. Good luck to them!