Queens Library Staff held story book time for children whose parents were choosing donated clothing, next to the Book Bus at Queens Library at Peninsula. A comforting story helped stressed kids and gave the adults a needed rest. Photo courtesy of Queens Borough Public Library.
By Susan Hildreth Director, IMLS The images coming from New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut shock and sadden us all. We know that employees of the affected museums and libraries are working doubly hard not only to clean up the homes of their own families, but also to reopen the institutions that are central to their communities. I am particularly struck by how vital these institutions are as emergency responders and when I see them go the extra mile to serve to their communities in times of need. Once their power is restored, many libraries and museums have become places for residents to find a semblance of normalcy. Libraries serve as overnight shelters and as places for people to “camp out” to escape their cold, dark homes. Throughout the region, libraries are packed with people recharging their mobile devices, using computers to connect with family members online, and looking for ways to entertain children.
Museums and arts organizations have become places of refuge and respite from long, trying days without heat and electricity, providing serenity in the wake of the storm, a place for community members to meet and share experiences, and a break for children whose schools are closed.