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 email@example.com, 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 […]
Experienced shutterbugs with DSLR cameras have boatloads of lens options for capturing the moment. Unfortunately, smartphone photographers often get stuck with their one crummy lens, which means limited zoom and focus for their final image.Step up your smartphone’s photographic power with the Acesori 5-Piece Smartphone Camera Lens Kit, now just $9.99 in the Boing Boing Store.Magnetic rings easily […]
Some truths are universal. For one, your phone will always run out of power when you most need it. For another, the charging cords that come packaged with your Apple device will fray, split, and rip faster than Usain Bolt in a game of tag.Instead, pick up a charging cord that anyone would have a tough […]
Some people say magic tricks are nerdy and best left to your 12-year-old asthmatic cousin. But others see value in perfecting the slight of hand and showmanship associated with a perfectly executed routine. We’re firmly in the latter camp. And now, we’re giving you the ability to put a few parlor tricks up your sleeve with the Penguin […]