After the flood, volumes of aid

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Burst pipe KO's children's library

by Chris Pedler

Hampton Union, February 6, 2004

[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]

HAMPTON - It is a dark time for Hampton’s children. There is no story time at the Lane Library, 600 beloved books have been lost, and the lights have been off (figuratively speaking) in the Children’s Room since a pipe burst on the morning of Jan. 15 and caused a damaging flood.

In response, the community has rallied in support of the library, pledging donations of books and cash to help refurbish the basement and get the Children’s Room back in operation.

"We lost computers, books, a heating unit," Cindy Stosse, the children’s librarian, said. A total of 600 books were destroyed in all, many of which cannot be replaced because they are out of print. All children’s activities have been canceled.

The room has been repainted bright yellow, and a new carpet has been ordered. "We are waiting for things to come in," she said.

Stosse said the earliest she can foresee the room opening is in three weeks, though the library has no specific date in mind.

In the meantime, aid has arrived from all sides.

Kathie Street's class
Kathie Street (center) poses with her first grade class at Centre School while Lane Memorial Library Children's Librarian Cindy Stosse, top right, looks on.
Bill Teschek, photo.

Kathie Street’s first-grade class at the Centre School donated 100 books as a "random act of kindness." The library has also received anonymous donations of money, and many other community groups, the Brownies for example, have promised to replace books when the room reopens.

The public libraries in North Hampton, Hampton Falls, Seabrook, and Rye have made their children’s rooms available to those who normally use the Lane.

Stosse said the response has been "fantastic."

Street had taken advantage of a special offer to teachers that allowed her to use accumulated credit to order 100 books from Scholastic Book Club. The big box of books sat around her room until one day, at a basketball game, she learned of the flooding in the Lane Children's Room.

"I said, 'There you go,'" she explained. "That is the reason why I never opened the box. They are not for me -- they are for the library."

The students presented the box, intact, to librarians who came to visit the class.

"We work on building community in the classroom," Street said. "This is community building in the town at large."

She said it was a "win-win" situation for the ilbrary, which gained 100 books, and the children, who learned something.

"The whole thing is to be able to give something to soemone else without expecting that you should get something in return," she said. "It was an unplanned, spontaneous thing, and that made it even better."

Street is looking forward to bringing the children on a field trip to the new Children's Room when it is reopened.

The North Hampton Library has had some 20 visitors from Hampton, and several come every day to read and join story time. The Rye library has welcomed about a half-dozen to a dozen visitors.

"We are glad to do anything we can to help," said Pam Jautaikis, a Rye librarian [who used to work in the Lane children's room herself, several years ago].

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