About three weeks ago, a Facebook Friend and fellow graduate of my high school alma-matter started up a new page on Facebook called Schools Helping Schools in Need. I noticed it as I was scrolling through my news feed the next morning, a surprisingly rare occurrence these days. This Facebook page is intended to connect schools struggling through the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy with other schools around the country (or world) which wish to help out. I immediately liked the idea, "liked" the page, and then shared it on my wall.
Last week I received a specific request, asking if I'd reach out to the Wisconsin Library community and ask for help. There is a school on Long Island, Lido Elementary School, which lost three of seven buildings in its district and is running them without supplies. It appears they are being housed (at least partially) in another school, Lindell Elementary School. This school's need for used fiction and non fiction books to rebuild and supplement the school library(ies?) was the specific focus of that request.
This effort got me curious and so I've started asking some questions of the originator of Schools Helping Schools in Need. Reading through their page, I'm seeing a handful of cases where schools are adopting classrooms or other schools. I'm going to learn how these efforts are going, how they're being coordinated, and just what capacity exists for handling any sizable influx of donors and donations.
The request last week reminded me that Sandy is still there for hundreds of thousands, well millions actually of people. Displaced students and teachers; displaced workers of all sorts; displaced families. There is so much happening over in that part of the country that I (and I'm sure many others) can't quite wrap our heads around. It would sure be easy to turn my head back to my own big projects and claim lack of time as a "reasonable" excuse for sitting this one out. But I'm not sure that's something my conscious will let me get away with anymore. In fact, the longer I've had to dwell on it over Thanksgiving (of all holidays), I'm quite sure of the opposite.
I am interested in learning what other Wisconsin librarians are already doing or have already done to help out. Please contact me if you are interested in learning more about the state of schools and libraries affected by Hurricane Sandy, and in working to discover how our vibrant and active Wisconsin Libraries Communication Network might reasonably and most effectively be put to use in collaborative regional efforts, or better, a state-wide effort. I can be reached through the normal WVLS channels, however, as all time I spend helping in any cooperative effort will be personal, I feel it prudent to provide some personal contact info:
I can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org. You might also contact me via Facebook or Twitter.
Oh, and by the way ... here is the contact information for Lido Elementary School:
Lindell Elementary School
(C/O Lido Elementary School)
601 Lindell Boulevard, Long Beach, NY 11561
Principal: Karen Sauter
Joshua Klingbeil - IT Director
Wisconsin Valley Library Service