April 19, 2018

California Fires Cripple Library Services

By LJ Staff

Multiple fires in southern California have affected library services and wreaked havoc on staff. No facilities have been damaged, though sporadic closings of public and academic libraries have been reported due to dangerous high winds, approaching fires, and dangerous air quality. In San Diego County, where “the air quality is horrendous,” San Diego County Library still has three of its “back country branches” closed, Principal Librarian Ellen Zyroff told LJ. The entire system of 32 branches was closed Monday and Tuesday. San Diego State University library reopened October 30 after several days of closure. Cal State San Marcos will reopen on November 3. Cleanup operations and air-quality testing will take place on both campuses. At the San Bernadino County Library, four mountain branches have been closed for almost one week, with no reopen date in sight. Director Ed Kieczykowski said the fire is only ten percent contained. Some staff will be assisting the county in performing assessment interviews to determine financial and safety needs of citizens. Gordon Conable,administrator of the RiversideCounty Library System, admitted that the “local expectation is that this will go on into next week and beyond.” In his area, some staff haven’t been able to come to work; their homes are in jeopardy, and some have been evacuated.