Santa Cruz County History - Disasters & Calamities

"One Week Later, Story Hour as Usual" - Getting La Selva Beach Branch Open Again
by Dorothy Allen

The interesting thing to me was that only ONE wall of books, the north wall, came down. But that wall also included our Storage/Work Room, and it was a mess!

These notes are from my Monthly Report, October 1989.

October 18, I checked into the Branch about 7:00 am, noted the "mess", but also lack of real destruction, thank goodness--no windows broken, computers safe. There were tents on the lawn behind the Library; the only sign driving through La Selva Beach, that the Quake had happened here, too! Later in the day, I went back to check inside (no power, no phone), and started to pick up.

Firemen came in to see what I was doing there and "ordered" me out--until the building was inspected. Their concern was the upper windows, and that we would have further shocks. They used our wrench and turned off gas for the whole complex, although they saw no sign of problems.

Got a call at home, from Anne Turner, [Library Director] about 5:00pm, to start clean-up Thursday; an Aptos Branch staff member was to report to work at La Selva with me. We worked 5 hours Thursday, and got all the books reshelved. With power on, we appreciated phone and computer mail contact.

Received message to report to work on Friday, but the Firemen did not want us in there until officially inspected ...waited for the Inspector 4 hours Saturday, no show. Reported in at 8:30am Monday, read Mail communications, discharged returned books, cleaned house, did catch-up, waiting for the Inspector--no show. The Recreation District (owners of the building) inspected, but agreed we should not open to the public until the official inspection and Green Notice.

Finally cleared by the Inspector at 12:00 noon, Oct. 24. [Library Director Anne Turner shanghaied an inspector and drove him to La Selva Beach.] We opened to an eager public at 10:00 am Wednesday, Oct.25, with Story Hour. Our phone lines and power stayed on, computers up!

During the following days, I did a thorough housecleaning, and rearranging of shelves, storage, etc., and created a specific corner for the tool box, first aid kit, flashlight batteries, emergency lanterns, and wrench (for outside turn-offs).

Also created a ready reference section specifically for information on chimney inspections, repair and safety...the biggest damage in La Selva village was to chimneys, and a number had fallen during the Quake. Our patrons and neighbors felt that Library was a safe, familiar place to drop in for respite, to share stories with neighbors. Many volunteers assisted with the pick-up as soon as they were allowed in the building!

(Dorothy Allen was Branch Manager of the La Selva Beach Branch Library)

Return to: The Loma Prieta Earthquake & The Santa Cruz Public Libraries

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earthquakes, libraries, Loma Prieta earthquake


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