Public libraries in Colorado and Maine collected fines and other donations in January to raise money for victims of the South Asian tsunami (AL, Feb., p. 10-12).
In Colorado, some 20 public and school libraries participated in a drive January 24-30 to deliver fine collections and other donations to the American Red Cross. Ralph Rulo, a facilities maintenance technician for the Douglas County Libraries in Castle Rock, thought up the plan, and Director Jamie LaRue liked the suggestion so much that he appealed to libraries across the state to join in the effort.
LaRue told American Libraries that Colorado libraries brought in slightly more than $15,000 for the drive, with Douglas County branches alone responsible for $5,300 in fines and gifts. "It turned our patrons' vaguely uncomfortable feelings about paying fines into a completely positive experience," he added.
"This loss of life, home, necessities of life, not to mention the devastation of libraries, is sweeping and tragic," Colorado State Librarian Nancy Bolt said in the January 24 Aspen Times. …