“100 Days for Haiti” Raises $14,000
The temporary building for the Petit-Goâve Public Library
Deborah Lazar, librarian at New Trier High School in Northfield, Illinois
Generous library supporters contributed $6,999.95 to the ALA Haiti Library Relief Fund in a 100-day campaign from October through January in support of the Petit-Goâve Public Library, which was destroyed in the earthquake of January 12, 2010. Deborah Lazar, librarian at New Trier High School in Northfield, Illinois, had offered to match ALA’s fundraising up to $5,000 during this period, but when she heard how successful it was, she agreed to increase her match, dollar for dollar—including an extra 10 cents, she told American Libraries, to make it come out to an even $14,000.
“I am thrilled and thankful that the amount of the match was exceeded,” Lazar said. “Every penny makes it possible to turn the rebuilding of the library in Petit-Goâve from a dream into a reality.” She said she was inspired to make the offer after listening to pledge drives on Chicago public radio station WBEZ and hearing people make donations.
The amount raised during the 100 days will go toward renting a temporary building and acquiring furniture and computers for the library, ALA International Relations Office Director Michael Dowling told AL. He added that it could take as long as two years for a brand-new building to be completed. The Haiti Library Relief Fund has raised $54,000 for three Haitian libraries since 2010 and will continue to accept donations as long as support is needed.
Petit-Goâve Library Director Jean Midley Joseph told Lazar in a recent email: “It is urgent to address the concerns of young people in the town of Petit-Goave who are eagerly awaiting the reopening of the library. We have planned many fun activities with the children, but for lack of a building we are in danger of not achieving our goal.”
Lazar has been to Haiti twice now, once before the earthquake when she visited a school in Petit-Goâve that a New Trier employee’s father started in 1952 and the high school was helping to rebuild. She plans another visit this summer to see the new temporary library building. “It’s been more than two years since the earthquake, and this effort will keep Haiti in people’s minds for a time,” she said. “Rebuilding doesn’t happen quickly.”
Along with Katie Nelson, librarian at Carleton W. Washburne Middle School in Winnetka, Illinois, Lazar will be hosting “We Read for Haiti” read-a-thons to foster the enjoyment of reading and provide an opportunity for crosscultural understanding. She also maintains the Rebuilding Haiti’s Libraries: Rebuilding Dreams website.