Haiti Library Relief
From left ro right: Petit Goave's Library; Pyepoudre community Library; New Bibliothèque Haïtienne des Pères du Saint-Esprit Library
Thanks to many recent donations ALA has raised and distributed $55,000!
A full house at the Petit Goave Library (2013)
UPDATE: On October 4, 2016, Hurricane Matthew struck the nation of Haiti, causing catastrophic damage throughout the country. The American Library Association is sad to hear about the level of human loss; as well as the damage done to libraries, schools and cultural sites. We know there is extensive damage to schools and libraries in Haiti and we are trying to get a better sense of the situation.
Here are some organizations you can support:
These funds have helped to build a temporary building for the Bibliothèque Haïtienne des Pères du Saint-Esprit, which was founded in 1873 and holds resources documenting the history of Haiti, French colonization, slavery and emancipation. The new facility is only 1/4 the size of the old library, but it will allow the library to begin re-establishing its collection and providing access to materials.
ALA is also raising funds for two other libraries: the Petit Goave Public Library, the Centre Culturel Pyepoudre Community Library. Even without buildings, the staff of these libraries have been continuing to provide services, visiting displacement camps to provide story times or handing out books in front of their demolished location.
Funds raised through ALA have helped to clear and prepare land and create designs for new facilities. Unfortunately, much more is needed, as the estimated cost to rebuild just the Petit Goave Public Library is $350,000. ALA encourages you to make tax deductible donations to help rebuild libraries in Haiti.
Thanks to all who have contributed so far. Our Haitian colleagues are so very grateful for donations from individual members, library staff associations, friends groups, student chapters, Cub Scout Pack 77 of Ridgewood, NJ, and other library supporters.
- Books donated by Edwidge Danticat. She was born in Haiti and moved to the United States when she was twelve. She is the author of several books, including Breath, Eyes, Memory, an Oprah Book Club selection; Krik? Krak!, a National Book Award finalist; and The Farming of Bones, an American Book Award winner. Ms. Danticat has released a new book titled Claire of the Sea Light.
Books donated by Edwidge Danticat.
- A group of teen volunteers, the Friends of the Mill Valley Public Library and Ms. Katie MacBride held a book sale to raise money to rebuild libraries in Haiti. The group's third year book sale raised $705.59. Thank you for your continued effort!
- Thank you to the Wanamaker Elementary Student Council in Topeka, Kansas for their $300 donation.
- The Carleton Washburne School in Winnetka, Illinois held their 2nd Annual Washburne Read-a-Thon! Students raised $2,368.28. Thank you to Ms. Nelson and all students who participated for your great efforts.
- Last year, the Friends of the Arlington Library in Arlington, Virginia, pledged to send 50 cents per completed reading log to their sister library, the Petit Goave Library in Haiti. Children and teens came out in force to make summer reading count. 3809 kids participated and they raised over $1900! The library received an additional $217.76 in donations. Thank you!
- Deborah Lazar, librarian at New Trier High School in Northfield, Illinois, agreed to match ALA donations dollar for dollar in recent 100 day campaign from October through January, up to $5,000. Generous library supporters contributed $6,999.95 in support of the Petit-Goâve Public Library, which was destroyed in the earthquake of January 12, 2010. When Deborah heard how successful the campaign was, she agreed to increase her match, dollar for dollar—including an extra 10 cents, to make it come out to an even $14,000.
- The Ramstein American Middle School Junior Librarians donated $410 dollars. Junior Librarians is a student volunteer organization that acts as a youth advisory committee, maintains the IC website and publishes a library newsletter. This group is made up of 7th and 8th grade students who every year choose a community project; and this year they chose to donate to the "100 Days for Haiti" campaign. Thank you to all the students for their hard work!
- Thank you to the The Friends of Rowley Public Library for their $600 contribution to rebuild libraries in Haiti. Em Claire Knowles, retired ALA Executive Board Member, attended the Haiti Check Presentation at the Rowley Public Library on September 7, 2011. The Friends of the Rowley Public Library is a nonprofit, 501(c)3 organization whose sole mission is to support the Rowley Public Library in Rowley, Massachusetts.
Nancy Judge (left) and Dr. Em Claire Knowles (left)
- We would like to thank the Friends and patrons of the Cabell County Public Library in Huntington, West Virginia for their generous contribution of $1,500 to rebuild libraries in Haiti.
Pam Ford, President of the Cabell County Friends of the Library stated that this year's Adult Summer Reading program was centered on Haitian culture. Donations were collected through a donation box, allowing patrons to donate a portion of their fines to the Haiti Library Relief Fund. The Friends of the Library group matched dollar for dollar. In addition, for every patron who read six books or more and completed a program booklet, the Friends of the Library donated $.50. per booklet.
Thank you for all your efforts!
See below for the different ways to make a donation.
Thank you for your generous support!
Donate to ALA’S Haiti Library Relief Fund
- Credit card: Please visit the ALA Development Office page (1. click on the GIVEALA logo, 2. Enter your ALA Login number and password or create a new record, 3. Go to "Fund Categories", 4. Click on "ALA Major Initiatives", 5. Scroll down to ALA Haiti Library Relief Fund, 6. Enter amount you wish to donate, 6. If finished, click the 'Checkout' box, 7. Review your transaction, 8. Click on "Add to basket", 9. Click on "Proceed with Checkout", 10. Enter your credit card information, 11. Click on 'Complete Order')
- Mail: Please print Donation Form (PDF file). Checks should be made out to "American Library Association" with a notation for Haiti and sent to: c/o International Relations Office, American Library Association, 50 E. Huron Street, Chicago, IL 60611-2795
ALA encourages libraries to undertake group fundraising efforts.
Adopt a Library
Saint Espirit Library
Just as hundreds of libraries helped colleagues in the gulf region after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, we are encouraging libraries, friends of libraries, and other organizations to adopt a library in Haiti. In addition to the three libraries that ALA is fund-raising for currently, there are many other public, community, academic, and school libraries that need help.
If your library or group is interested in ‘adopting’ a library please contact Michael Dowling at email@example.com
Though there is a strong interest in donating books directly to Haiti immediately, libraries in Haiti are not in a position to receive books until further notice.
Your books, however, can still help improve the quality of education and literacy in Haiti. Better World Books (BWB), an affinity partner of ALA, has set up a special program to receive book donations and convert the book donations in to funding for its literacy partner on the ground in Haiti. For more information on how to donate, please visit the Better World Books site (opens a new page).
It’s a great way for individuals, libraries, and other organizations to help. Books donated to BWB raised over $100,000 for the New Orleans Public Library to purchase much needed new books after Hurricane Katrina
Reports of Damage to Libraries and Archives
Initial reports on the damage and destruction to libraries and archives in Haiti are just beginning to come in. This section will be updated as reports are received.
International Blue Shield's Mission to Haiti - Online Report - (Blue Shield, June 2, 2010)
Report from the Foundation of Knowledge and Liberty-FOKAL (PDF document) - (March 16, 2010)
Haiti's National Library After the Earthquake - (School of Library Journal, February 10, 2010)
News and developments regarding libraries in Haiti - IFLA report (February 1, 2010)
Library damages to buildings report (Word document) - by Jéremy Lachal, Director, BSF; Danielle Mincio, Head of Preservation and Conservation, Bibliothèque cantonale et universitaire de Lausanne. (January 21, 2010)
American Libraries - Report on library damages in Haiti (January 19, 2010)
ALA is a member of the U.S. Committee of the Blue Shield (USCBS), the organization that is the equivalent of the Red Cross for cultural heritage and preservation. The USCBS belongs to the larger Associations of National Committees of the Blue Shield (ANCBS).
The Blue Shield wants to support recovery, restoration and repair measures necessary to rebuild libraries, archives, museums, monuments and sites. Therefore it is calling upon archivists, restorers, curators, librarians, architects and other experts to register online as a volunteer.
If you are interested in volunteering, please fill out the online form
The Smithsonian U.S. Committee of Blue Shield Project - The Haiti Cultural Recovery Project works to rescue, recover, safeguard and help restore Haitian artwork, artifacts, documents, media, and architectural features damaged and endangered by the earthquake and its aftermath.
Statements From ALA and Other Organizations on Haiti
- ALA Resolution on Haiti (PDF file)
Organizations with Libraries in Haiti
- FOKAL (Foundation for Knowledge and Liberty) - an independent foundation in Haiti supported by the Open Society Institute and other international and local organizations.
- Haiti Reads - Haiti Reads strives to make books available to all children and adults regardless of current enrollment in an educational institution.
- Libraries without borders - After the earthquake that struck the Port-au-Prince region on Tuesday, January 12, Libraries Without Borders affirms its solidarity with the people of Haiti. LWB and its French affiliate, Bibliothèques Sans Frontières, are involved in a number of projects in the capital and throughout the country.
- Haiti Soleil - Haiti Soleil is a nonprofit corporation based in Berkeley, California. Haiti Soleil is founded on the belief that to bring about social change in Haiti, the country needs to empower young people by giving them access to safe nurturing spaces, and providing them with opportunities for intellectual exchange and creative expression.
Disaster Preparedness Resources
- Heritage Preservation: Webpage of the Heritage Emergency Task Force with resources for disaster recovery.
- Library of Congress: The Library of Congress has a webpage with resources for librarians on preservation and emergency preparedness and response.
For questions or comments, please contact the International Relations Office at firstname.lastname@example.org.