By Jennifer Wilhelm, Chair of the NMRT Communications Committee
This week, Hurricane Harvey devastated an enormous swath of Texas, along with parts of Louisiana. Thousands of residents have been displaced, and damage assessment is just beginning. If you would like to get involved in recovery efforts specific to libraries, here are some suggestions and resources.
The Texas Library Association (TLA) is encouraging donations to the TLA Disaster Relief Fund. You can also contribute by purchasing a TLA Coloring Book, which will benefit the Disaster Relief Fund. TLA also maintains a Disaster Recovery Resources page, which offers more ways to help and resources for affected libraries. The American Library Association (ALA) also maintains #LibrariesRespond, which is focused on helping United States libraries after disasters.
The Central Texas Library System (CTLS) is maintaining a page of damage reports. If you are an affected library, you may contact CTLS to report damage.
Although this is by no means an exhaustive list of ways to get involved, I encourage everyone to step up in this time of need so that affected libraries can get back on their feet and helping their local communities.
As a quick note: I’m sure many of us would happily send books and resources to the affected libraries however, such donations should wait until clean up begins and a needs assessment is complete. Keep checking the resources above and use your professional networks to stay in touch with affected librarians and libraries.
I also want to take the time to remember Kristina Carter and Wanda Walters, librarians in Clovis, New Mexico whose lives were tragically cut short on August 28 by a gunman. Hurricane Harvey is dominating the news this week, for good reason, but I would be remiss if I did not mention the loss these two women.