Just about 1,000 feet from their location that was gutted by a fire, Pleasant Valley Library staff are crammed into a small unit at a strip mall off Main Street, trying to replace everything they lost.
After just two days of a recently announced weeklong book donation drive, the unit is filling up.
"This is unbelievable," said library regular Betty Lorentzen, who dropped by to visit the staff. "I can't believe so much has been donated already."
The fire at the original Main Street location was in early November.
Library staff said the owners of the strip mall offered the staff one unit to accept and organize donations, and the owner is also offering another larger unit to be used as a temporary library location rent-free for two years.
"Their offer was so generous," Pleasant Valley Library Director Daniela Pulice said. "We wouldn't be able to do what we're doing without that."
Pulice said the staff's goal is to open that temporary location in three weeks.
They first need the material to fill it with.
As of Monday morning, staff estimated they received about 1,000 books and several hundred DVDs.
It is a step toward rebuilding the library's now-destroyed collection of 52,000 books that were accumulated over 20 years, Pulice said.
Pulice said — aside from the books — she is also concerned about services many in the area have come to depend on.
"We need to get the computers up and running first thing, because a lot of people are saying they need to file their unemployment and they need to do their job searching," Pulice said. "There's a lot of things that need to be done online that the community used to come to the library to do."
The staff and volunteers here are collecting donations all week in the mornings and afternoons, and may plan for another round of donations after this week.
Pulice said the timeline for rebuilding the original property that had the fire is fuzzy, since the insurance company is still evaluating the damage and tallying all the library's losses.