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Empty shelves filled

Colonie librarians pitch in
to help library whose collection took a hit in Sandy

— In the days and weeks following Superstorm Sandy’s impacts Downstate, residents of the Capital District have organized shipments of food, clothes, blankets and other essentials. But a group of South Colonie librarians recently helped by offering an overlooked item: books.

“I kind of got the idea in the spirit of holiday giving, knowing the devastation from the hurricane, I was sure there were librarians affected in one way or another,” said Library Media Specialist at Saddlewood Elementary School Debra Gara.

Through some research, Gara found a school in Coney Island whose library was affected in a unique way. While the school is close to the water and the basement flooded, PS 90 Edna Cohen School’s library survived the storm. However, more than 300 books that had been taken out of the library were never returned. In of filling the shelves again, the Edna Cohen School started a Titlewish.com donation campaign, asking for $1,000 to buy new books. Gara spoke to several other librarians in the district, and they collectively donated more than $100.

“We weren’t actually flooded, thank goodness,” said Eileen Makoff, Edna Cohen School librarian. “Fortunately the library is on the second floor. But about 10 percent of our collection was out with students at the time.”

The elementary school has about 600 students in pre-K through fifth grade and the library has about 3,000 books. Since the basement flooded, the school was closed for a week and students attended school in a neighboring area.

“Coney Island was one of the areas that was hit very hard by Sandy. Many members of the community were badly affected,” Makoff said. “A lot of those books were in homes that were flooded. A few of them are trickling back, but probably two thirds were lost forever.”

Makoff said the books lost were the most popular titles, like animal books and graphic novels.

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