Campus: CSU Humboldt -- November 28, 2005

Rebuilding a Library, Book by Book

Looking to help rebuild the Gulf Coast, some Humboldt State University students are going to the library – specifically, the Baxterville School library in Lumberton, Miss., which was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.

In a project they call Books Building Bridges, the students are working with North Coast bookstores, coffee shops and elementary schools, such as Pacific Union School in Arcata, to rebuild the collections of books and other educational resources at the kindergarten-through-eighth-grade school. They are also seeking bulk donations from publishing companies and monetary support.

The HSU students plan to drive to Mississippi in January, during the semester break, to deliver the books themselves.

The project grew out of a campus brainstorming session focused on ways to respond to the devastation of the region’s educational systems. Along with rebuilding the Baxterville School’s library this year, the project’s goals include building HSU student interest in national affairs and regional differences through a pen-pal program.

Already, local and HSU librarians have helped the group approach the daunting task of building and cataloging a collection; and many local schoolchildren have donated copies of their favorite books.

A list of roughly 1,500 needed books received from Baxterville includes classics such as Jules Verne’s “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” and Mark Twain’s “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”; biographies of Helen Keller, Eleanor Roosevelt, Hank Aaron, Nelson Mandela, Rin Tin Tin, Benjamin Franklin and others; and how-to books on asking someone for help, taking care of your hair and “How to Raise a Happy Tadpole.”

For details on Books Building Bridges, email or contact the group’s advisor, HSU political science lecturer Melanie Williams, at 707-826-3925 or Individuals interested in helping may also attend the group’s meetings, which are held Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m. in the University Center’s South Lounge.

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