Community

Johnson County libraries raising money for Puerto Rico

Funds to buy videos, books for library at art school after hurricanes

The Iowa City Public Library. (file photo)
The Iowa City Public Library. (file photo)
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IOWA CITY — As the 10th anniversary of the 2008 flood nears, Johnson County public libraries are embarking on a mission to help other libraries suffering from a different type of natural disaster — hurricanes Irma and Maria.

Through the month of June, Public Libraries of Johnson County will raise money to replace books, videos and other materials damaged by the storms.

Member libraries, including those in Iowa City, Coralville and North Liberty, will have collection boxes for the fund, according to a release from Iowa City.

“It’s just heartbreaking,” said Patty McCarthy, director of development at the Iowa City Public Library. “We, having gone through the flood, certainly know what happens and what books look like after they’ve been through lots of water.”

The effort is apart of the Adopt a Library program from the American Library Association and REFORMA, the National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and Spanish Speakers. The program paired the Iowa Library Association with Francisco Oller Library in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Statewide, the goal is to raise $15,000, McCarthy said.

The Francisco Oller Library is on the campus of Escuela de Artes y Diseño de Puerto Rico, or EAPD, which had about $2 million in damage. It’s the only school in Puerto Rico that offers a bachelor of fine arts degree in majors such as art education, painting and digital art and design, according to the release.

“Libraries in communities can become the place where you go to sign up for help from FEMA or be able to use the internet to be able to tell your family that you’re OK,” McCarthy said. “Everybody benefits when you have a strong library.”

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Donations of cash or checks to the Iowa Library Association may be dropped in the donation box. Libraries in Coralville, Iowa City, North Liberty, Oxford, Solon, Springmier and Swisher are participating, according to the release.

l Comments: (319) 339-3172; maddy.arnold@thegazette.com

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