Hurricane Sandy devastated some sections of New York City and did massive damage to numerous libraries in Queens. Undaunted, the amazing Queens Library sent a mobile book bus with a rapid response team of librarians, led by Matthew Allison, into the area as soon as roads were opened again.
Maybe it's hard to imagine what a librarian can do when people have no power, no heat, and no food. People in the Rockaways, in Queens, live in crowded conditions, crashing with friends and families, seeing homes where everything was destroyed by flooding. What can a library do when people are cold, tired, hungry, and scared?
The library brings them all the things it always does. It provides information, such as FEMA applications, where aid centers are set up, locations for Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders. It provides comfort: charge your cell phone, send an email, or just get out of the cold for a few minutes. It provides entertainment: books were lent whether people had a library card or not.
These are all the direct benefits, but there are many intangibles as well. Everyone knew that, even at their lowest point, the library was still there for them. Some volunteer librarians from Queens were able to do a storytime at a relief distribution point. It's strange to tell stories in the open air, with children sitting on matteresses in the dirt, while their parents scramble for food and blankets around you—and incredibly inspiring. It was a moment of normalcy, of comfort, of safety.
Libraries are not just a part of our communities. They are essential to them. Our patrons knew that they were not forgotten, and we were ready to serve.
To support our efforts, visit the Queen Library Foundation or email firstname.lastname@example.org, and Urban Librarians Unite.
Christian Zabriskie, Urban Librarians Unite
Libraries in New York City are facing a potential $106 million cut to their budgets. Should these cuts go through, more than 60 neighborhood libraries will close. More than a thousand librarians and library staff will be laid off. Once again, for a fourth year, New Yorkers will be standing up for libraries at the […]
A three-dimensional, modular origami fractal has taken form for the first time in the history of the world—and perhaps the universe—at the USC Libraries in Los Angeles.
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 […]
These days, the vape market is saturated with low-quality products, making it nearly impossible to separate the gems from the duds. The Atmos Rx Dry Herb Vaporizer stands out from crowd for two reasons: its impressive battery life and durable construction. This high-end little gadget is compact enough to fit in your pocket, and packs a powerful punch, […]
If you’re like us, you occasionally get ambitious with your dinner and try to cook multiple sides plus a main dish. These efforts usually end as a cold meal plus a pile of dishes to wash. MasterPan Multi-Sectional Meal Skillet makes it super easy to make multiple dishes at once without the hassle. This heavy gauge bottom pan […]
The Lytro Illum is our all-time best-selling camera and here’s our best deal yet. Apply the code “Lytro10” to save an extra 10% off on this camera’s mind-blowing functionality in this exclusive one day only sale.