St. Joseph’s Library Relocation
Through the initiative of member Fatima Shaik, the Children’s/Young Adult Book Authors Committee helped move an elementary school library from St. Joseph’s School in Greenwich Village, New York City, to the Martin Luther King Jr. School in New Orleans. When Fatima realized the archdiocese was closing her child’s school, she offered to pack up and transport to New Orleans the entire St. Joseph’s library consisting of 134 boxes of books and 37 bookcases. Over the course of several very hot August days, members of the Children’s Book Committee, including Fran Manushkin, Susan Kuklin, Miriam Chaikin, Paul Zelinsky, Elizabeth Levy, and Vera B. Williams, joined Shaik’s friends and family, and the staff of St. Joseph’s to box the books and load them onto a rented truck. Donations to pay for transportation-a total of $3000-came from Children’s Committee members, family, friends, and strangers who answered a letter from “cousin Fatima” appealing for $10 from 300 people. Some $10 checks came from New Orleanians who were living in small towns and trailers because they had lost their homes.
When the books arrived in New Orleans, volunteers from the genealogy organization La Creole helped unpack them, as did the teachers at Martin Luther King Jr. School, and young people from a local grassroots organization. The Martin Luther King Jr. School for Science and Technology, located in the lower Ninth Ward, was the only one in Louisiana that contained a branch of the public library. This proud centerpiece of the school was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. The Children’s Committee plans an ongoing relationship with the school that will include visits by our author members.