Friends of the Library helps Central's library recover after Harvey

Dora Nisby, Linda Esch, Tara Jones and Michael Mahood

When a community suffers a natural disaster, sometimes it’s the little things that help residents return to normal, like being able to check out books at the library.

After Hurricane Harvey, officials found mold growing inside Central High School buildings, as previously reported by The Examiner.

Freshman still meet on the campus in buildings that weren’t affected. Tenth through 12th-grade students are meeting at the building that used to be Stephen F. Austin Middle School, according to BISD spokesperson Nakisha Burns.

None of the displaced students have access to their library, since the library was in one of the buildings with mold, librarian Tara Jones said.

“We don’t have access at all to the library,” Jones said, and she and the staff don’t know what books are damaged and may need to be replaced.

While the Friends of the Library usually focuses on supporting the Beaumont Library system, board member Dora Nisby explained, the members decided at their last meeting to help Central High School’s library recover from Harvey.

Nisby said that she knows the organization’s donation isn’t large — just $500 — but resources are expensive and “every little bit helps.”

“We’re quite sure that the $500 will go a long way,” Jones said. She said she’ll be gathering suggestions from the principal and department heads for books that are needed in their classrooms.

“It definitely will help us get our hands on some resources that we do not currently have,” Jones added.

Part of the Friends of the Library’s purpose is to encourage reading, explained Linda Esch, president.

“We are all devoted readers,” she said. “We believe that helping libraries in the community … will encourage students to use all libraries, not just the school library.”

“The students are a part of our community that we support,” Nisby added. “Reading is one of the fundamental skills that we all need to acquire.

Jones also wants her students to love reading.

“I have a fond memory of mother bringing me and my sister to the library when we were younger,” Jones said. “We loved and looked forward to it.”

Michael Mahood, a member of the Friends, said it was good to see students in his old school. Both Jones and Mahood attended Austin Middle School growing up and hope the donation helps future students to love reading like they do.