Released by Kelly Young with the City of Jacksonville:
The Palestine Public Library is being forced to relocate its entire collection after both the north and south wings of their building collapsed this summer, and the Jacksonville Public Library is stepping up to ensure Palestine readers have a place where they can pick up free reading materials this fall until their library is ready to reopen.
JPL is extending library privileges to Palestine library card holders in good standing. The Palestine library will be relocating to the old senior citizen center but it is expected to take at least six weeks until that building is ready to open. In the meantime, Palestine card holders will be able to utilize JPL's 65,000-item collection of books, audiobooks, periodicals and reference materials.
"We've been accepting Palestine library cards for about a week now and while we haven't seen a whole rush of people coming in here, a few more people from Palestine are coming in each day," said Barbara Crossman, library director for the Jacksonville Public Library. "We jumped at the chance to offer the Palestine library assistance as they work to handle this crisis, and we are very glad to be able to help them out."
In order to accommodate the added traffic, JPL head of technical services David Emprimo has set up several additional computers for use by library-goers and Crossman is working to acquire duplicate copies of best selling books in the hopes of avoiding a logjam for some of the more popular works.
Crossman said people have been coming in from as far as Oakwood in Freestone County to use their Palestine library cards in Jacksonville. A few Palestine children have also been participating in weekly story time with Peggy Jo Jones, children's librarian.
"We've just had people trickling in so far, but we have the capacity to deal with many more Palestine library card holders than we have been seeing so far and we would be happy to have them," she said.
While readers from Palestine will have access to all the same books that Jacksonville residents do, a two-book checkout limit will be imposed on the visiting card holders - as opposed to unlimited checkout privileges for locals.
The roof over the southern wing of the Palestine Public Library collapsed July 29, forcing the staff to vacate that area and move those books into the north wing. Heavy rains then caused the roof over the northern wing to fall on Sept. 13. Since that time the library's collection has been stored in a large conference room.
According to Crossman, three workers from the North East Texas Library System have traveled to Palestine in the past few weeks to help in the process of boxing up the salvageable books.
"Accommodating these extra people has created some extra work for us here, but we are willing to do anything we can to help, and I think we have handled the extra work seamlessly," Crossman said. "There really is a sense of community among libraries, and helping each other out as much as possible is what we do. And I'm certain they would do the same for us if we had anything like that happen here."