Today happens to be payday for me, and it also happens to be the first paycheck we got that reflects our annual cost-of-living raise (thank you, Wyoming energy industry, for continuing to flourish in these scant times).
Today is also the day after a flash flood hit the Louisville Free Public Library, where my friend Greg Schwartz works. He posted some pictures yesterday (and here’s one from the newspaper), but perhaps what got me the most (oddly, because despite my frequent postings about technology, I really think of myself as a book person) was his tweet from this morning: “Watching the h2o being poured out of our servers. Depressing.”
Libraries aren’t just stacks of books: among other things, they are stacks of findable books, organized books, books that can be checked out and checked in again, books that can be loaned to other libraries. Servers are part of what make that work possible, and one of the things that Greg does is look after them.
A lot of people want to send books to libraries who have been hit by disasters. This is a noble thing to want to do, but it is a very bad idea, because, as Catherine notes as Rachel notes and Catherine echos, your idea of what they need and what they actually need may not always match up. If you would like to help, though, you can send money. Checks can be mailed to The Library Foundation, 301 York Street, Louisville, KY 40203.
Steve Lawson has also started a Library Society of the World fund drive for the library. If that link isn’t working, the details are also available at Iris’s place. The gist of it is that Steve is collecting money (send donations to firstname.lastname@example.org via PayPal or checks made out to Steve to the Library Society of the World Clubhouse, PO Box 7893, Colorado Springs CO 80933.
I just sent in the amount that my paycheck increased by because of my raise, but any amount at all will help get books back on the shelves — and, just as crucially, get the servers that help keep the library running dry, safe, and back to doing their work. And while you’re at it, why not run through Dorothea’s little checklist and see how secure your data is in the event of a catastrophe. I know our data curation could use some work.