By Heather Killen
Good people everywhere are sending their two cents to help a local library close the book on a nasty break-in.
It was a bleak morning start to the New Year when staff at the Rosa M. Harvey Library in Middleton came to work on January 2 and found it had been vandalized for the fourth time.
This break-in resulted in the loss of a digital camera, a few hundred dollars in donations, and a damaged steel door. Also discouraging was the nasty mess the thieves left behind.
Sue Aldred, branch manager, said that ever since the news of this incident spread, people have been sending books and donations to help make up for what was lost. Over the past weeks pennies have been arriving in cake tins, lunch boxes, baggies, Tupperware containers and even beer cans.
“Men, weighted down with an armload of pennies, are stopping by the branch,” she said. “It’s hard times and people are really digging deep. The generosity has been unreal, we appreciate it so much.”
Many of the same people who first donated to the book fund have returned with new donations. One woman actually matched the funds lost for children’s books, while others, who have never been in the branch, are also donating.
Retired teachers and librarians are helping, and memorial donations keep pouring in. Even little children are stopping in with their lunch money.
Aldred added that what they are receiving more than makes up for what was lost. The unexpected wave of goodwill helps to wash away the small and malicious actions of a few, she says.
“We can buy hundreds of children’s books now,” she said with a smile. “It’s such a nice feeling.”
The reoccurring thefts and subsequent property repairs had become a costly problem for the library. Over time, the branch was forced to replace three windows and a steel door; it lost an Xbox, two digital cameras, as well as the cash donations.
While staff had been doing everything possible to discourage the break-ins, the next move was a security system. But for a branch that was saving up to buy children’s books, installing a security system just wasn’t in the budget.
Curtis Macintyre, Rob Perry, and Kathy Spurrell, of the Pharmasave, have stepped up and donated a new security system to the library; while Tom Redford, of Wilsons/AML Security, is supplying the first six months free.
Bruce Auto Group has also shown its support for the library. Most surprising are the donations from groups farther away. Canadian Manda Group, a Toronto-based book supplier sent a huge box of books.
Last week a member of the U.S. consulate dropped off four full boxes of children’s books. Aldred added that following the break-in, staff took down the sign asking for donations. People have been helping without even being asked.