Every day, Queens Library’s Emergency Assistance Distribution Center at the Far Rockaway Community Library is providing desperately needed supplies to those affected by Hurricane Sandy. The Library is distributing food, water, baby supplies, batteries, toiletries, pet food, cleaning supplies and other essentials. At times lines stretch around the block. Hundreds of people have already come seeking help, and thousands of meals have been provided.
Our Mobile Library at Peninsula is also providing needed relief supplies as well as information and books. We are bringing programs and services to people in temporary shelters. We are working to set up more temporary distribution and assistance centers at several other library locations (Arverne, Broad Channel, Far Rockaway Teen Library, Howard Beach, and Seaside) to serve this community. Although many of our libraries require major restoration, we will still be able to use these sites for temporary relief efforts.
Librarians know people don’t just need physical help. They need access to internet services and power to recharge phones to communicate with loved ones. They need programs and services. They have everyday real life questions and Queens Library is providing answers. Whether it’s how to pick up a prescription when a local pharmacy has been destroyed, how and where to obtain disaster recovery resources, or how to manage daily life in such a crisis, Queens Library is there to help.
Sometimes what we can do is just to provide sympathy and support: A mother’s 8-year old daughter was traumatized by being displaced from her home; she was comforted by our Children’s Librarian. A library patron cried when she saw the destroyed books strewn throughout one of our libraries. She expressed how she had come from a dictatorship, and that books were the most important thing in the world to her.