On Monday, Oct. 29, Sandy headed for the East Coast, looking to make landfall in my home state of New Jersey. Days before, my local CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) group staffed a Red Cross shelter at Chairville Elementary School in suburban Medford, NJ. Having volunteered to staff a shelter there last year during Hurricane Irene, I knew there would be residents with worried minds and lots of time on their hands, in need of distractions.
Preparing for what could be days at the storm shelter, I grabbed a box of books already set aside for donation; evacuees needed them more than the next book sale would. The stash included everything from science textbooks to romances and poetry. I threw in some recent magazines, a few children's books, and a stack of holiday catalogs that had come in the mail. On the morning we opened, I set up the box with some colorful, cheerful fabric and a sign that assured guests that they were welcome to keep whatever they liked—otherwise, people might have ignored the longer books for fear they wouldn't finish them before they went home.
When the storm came in, the 20-plus shelter residents spent lots of time eating, talking, reading, and playing games. The little library saw plenty of use, and received many positive comments from volunteers.
The next morning, when most residents were able to leave and we started closing up, I overheard a newspaper reporter interviewing residents at the next table. Asked to name something specific that made the shelter stay fun, one young man said "books and magazines"—along with all the food and coffee. I was thrilled!
While this little makeshift library was not an official part of the operation, and my volunteer CERT work was not the most vital role, the reading material helped displaced, worried residents pass the time: libraries FTW, again!
— By Kathy Dempsey, Libraries Are Essential
Across the US, 31 communities have joined forces to make the dream of fast, affordable, and reliable gigabit-speed broadband a local reality. The Next Century Cities program, launched this week, hopes to defeat the forces holding broadband back. The 31 inaugural signatories are:
Jonathan M. Katz reported on the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake for the AP. What he saw there ran contrary to the prevailing narrative of violence, looting and lawlessness in the streets. Instead, what he found was another example of “Elite Panic”, the UN’s “relief” forces landing heavily armed people all around the island who […]
Back in November, I blogged the Tsarina of Tsock’s wonderful shark socks, noting that they were not yet articles of commerce and hoping that they would become such soon. Now, Tsarina writes and says, You asked me to let you know when my Shark Week sock was released to the general public, so I thought […]
You may not love Microsoft Word, but you’ve definitely used it. Other than being one of the most ubiquitous programs on the planet, it’s been the go-to word processing system for more than a quarter-century because it’s as basic as it gets. But occasionally, you’ve got assignments that beg for a lot more options than simple […]
Almost everyone has their smartphone in a case of one kind or another. Beyond simple protection, finding a case that can charge your phone on its own, but doesn’t feel like it’s also adding a couple pounds to the phone’s weight is the tricky part. Billed as the world’s thinnest battery case, the ThinCharge iPhone […]
You never know when new projects, ideas or opportunities can drop into your lap at a moment’s notice. That may require you to learn a new programming language like Python. Or maybe you need a primer on 3D game development. Or you might realize you could use a serious brush-up on iOS mobile creation.Point is, […]