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Community Unites in Midst of Disaster

Community Unites in Midst of Disaster

The 2012 Waldo Canyon Fire is a tragedy, but the response by individuals and organizations has been truly inspiring. PPLD is proud to assist our community during this trying time.

In addition to being an air-conditioned refuge from the heat and smoke, PPLD has extended a helping hand in other ways.

On Sunday, June 24, Penrose Library remained open four hours later than usual to help meet the high demand for Internet usage by people needing to communicate with friends and family.

The Library has also set up mobile Laptop Labs at the Red Cross Shelters at Cheyenne Mountain High School and The Southeast YMCA for evacuees. Clifton Medford, IT Technician at PPLD, said the Library plans to have the laptops available at the shelters until they close.

“My hope is to be here until everything is cleared,” he said.

PPLD and Friends of the Pikes Peak Library District have also donated hundreds of books at each location for evacuees to keep.

PPLD librarian Krista Meier recounted this illustrative anecdote from the Cheyenne Mountain High School shelter: “One young girl I chatted with very calmly stated that the little stuffed animal she had been given might be the only one she has left if their house burns down. She ended up finding a couple of fairy books and her face completely lit up when I told her she could have them.”

In addition, the Library is dedicating public service staff to help evacuees register on the Red Cross Safe and Well website.

Use of the East Library webcam has boomed, as people throughout the world search for a view of the devastation.

“One of the first things I did today was to go to the East Library cam,” wrote Erin Gallagher on PPLD’s Facebook page. “Being in England I'm freaking out over my family and friends in Colorado Springs. Thank you for keeping the live feed up so that I can check it when I need to even across the pond, and thank you for donating everything you are. Keeping people in touch is very important right now, and five minutes of use on a laptop can put many people's fears to rest.”

PPLD has received an outpouring of supportive statements and offers for assistance from other libraries, including the Colorado State University-Pueblo Interlibrary Loan Office, Arapahoe Library District, Jefferson County Public Libraries, and Denver Public Library.

It is heartening to see a community unite, even if it is in the midst of disaster. In times of tragedy, you tend to see the best of human capability: bravery, shared passion, compassion, the opening of doors and minds to strangers. It is times like these we are forced to remember we are all connected in ways more than geographic.

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