Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Please help the Joplin Public Library

I received this email today, forwarded from the American Library Association. I want to share it in case anyone out there is trying to find a way to help. Sometimes people send money to organizations like the Red Cross, which is always a good thing, but if you would like to help on a more personal level, maybe this is good place to do that.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Jacque Gage
Date: Tue, May 24, 2011 at 10:56 AM
Subject: [Mpld] Joplin

JPL in a kind of nutshell:

Again, the library received NO DAMAGE. We are enough north of the storm area that our building is fine.

Of our staff, 8 completely lost homes. Two others sustained significant damage. Two employees sustained minor injuries -- one girl a broken arm -- one guy with thousands of abrasions on his back sustained when the place in which he took shelter collapsed.

The library is open normal hours today. We still have a skeleton crew, with some just not able to find clear routes to get to the library -- well, actually they could head west into Kansas and come around from the north, or east far enough to circle around and come in from the north..... but other staff has had no difficulties getting in.

Yesterday library usage was virtually non-existent, even for the computer lab. We've tried to get word out through the media and through every FB relief page we could find that we are open for cell phone/computer charging and have good internet connection. Today people are beginning to come in for computer use. We have set up our labtop lab for overflow from the regular lab.

As far as library help, if the demand for computer access continues to grow, we might need some help preparing computers we have in stock to get them online. We have about 50 computers still in boxes that have arrived to replace older computers, but they are not formatted etc etc etc. If anyone is capable of this type activity and willing to, I can forward names to my IT person. She IS particular and volunteers would have to follow her directions on how she wants them set up...... :-)

Also, if library personnel from across the state were so inclined, if any financial support is sent to me in care of JPL, I will see that affected staff received this aid. 5 of the 8 who lost their homes are only employed part-time, including a single mom (with a now-broken arm and no medical ins) with kids, already struggling before this hit.

I have not personally seen the devastation except through pictures to which you all have access online. I live 40 miles north and have not a purpose to drive through the area. Despite my curiosity, I have stayed out of the way of workers. Those to whom I have spoken who HAVE seen it, say the pictures absolutely do NOT do justice to the situation. I can only fathom. The library is location on Main St. in the center of town. There are so many emergency vehicles running with lights and sirens blaring up and down Main St., it is incredible.

On another personal note, my 24 yr old daughter was working in ER at the remaining hospital during the tornado. She is still in shock from it. She has *almost* completed her radiology tech training and Freeman had hired her for PRN work. What she experienced is very much akin to wartime casualties. She has not worked in the medical field enough to have developed the thick skin needed, so it was really hard for her. I only heard her describe a couple cases, and just thinking about those with having my "baby" have to deal with them, hurts a mother's heart. I know she barely scratched the surface with those incidents, since Freeman was designated as a place for only life-threatening cases.......

Your prayers for the City and my daughter are appreciated. I may post updates from time to time on our FB page or through the MPLD list.

Jacque Gage, Director
Joplin Public Library
300 S. Main Street
Joplin, MO 64801
417.623.7953 - voice
417.625.4728 - fax

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