Brookport Library Needs Donations

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By Hilary LeHew

BROOKPORT -- After last month's tornado, the village of Brookport now faces a new challenge of sustaining its public library.     

The building hosted FEMA when the agency was helping tornado victims get back on their feet. Now, library leaders are calling on the community to help keep its doors open.
 
If you drive into Brookport, the first thing you'll see beside the piles of rubble is the library.
 
"We are just so thankful to have been spared," insists Library Board President Judy Askew.
 
Askew is grateful the Brookport library is still standing, but it didn't go untouched.
 
"We had $5,000-plus worth of damages to the library," she explains. "The front windows were blown out and they've already been replaced."
 
It's hard times for the privately-funded library that was already running out of cash. Askew says the board was actually in talks with the city about taking it over.
    
"They were thinking about it and then the tornado hit," she says. "So, we realized then that that's simply out of the question."
 
Despite their own struggles, the library board agreed to open its doors to FEMA and those touched by the November tornado.
 
"That was our service to the community, was to let FEMA be here so people could find us," explains Askew.
 
Now, the board is hoping the community will return the favor by helping them pay the $600 monthly operating costs.
 
"We're looking for 60 people that will give us $10 a month."
 
The Brookport library only charges $1 a year for a library card because the school system operates at a 75% poverty level. It's also completely run by volunteers like Askew.
 
"It's up to us to find people and companies that are willing to keep the doors open and the lights on," Askew adds.
    
If the library doesn't receive additional funds, Askew says the doors could close as soon August.
 
Donations can be sent to the Brookport Library at P.O. Box 308, Brookport, IL 62910.
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