Locals donate books for flood-affected eastern Kentucky libraries

Recent flooding hit Kentucky hard, and one segment seeing a major impact was libraries. “Many libraries lost everything,” explained Russellville Public Library Director Joshlyn Bowen.

Jason Swinney, pastor of North Russellville Baptist Church and environmental health and safety manager at Clayton Supply in Guin, wanted to help. “One of the guys at work had the idea to take up donations for the Kentucky flood victims,” explained Swinney. “After doing some research, we found out that one of the areas hit the hardest had lost their library.”

He said that’s when the wheels started turning.

“I have known Joshlyn Bowen all my life, and I knew she had taken a position at the Russellville Public Library. I connected with her and asked for her help,” Swinney explained. “Without hesitation, she put a plan together to encourage folks in the community to donate books.”

Haleyville Public Library Director Carla Waldrop saw Bowen’s Facebook post and also wanted to contribute to the book drive. HPL donated several boxes of books, bringing them to the Russellville library.

“It makes my heart happy to see other libraries joining in on a great cause,” added Bowen.

Waldrop said it was an honor to be able to contribute to RPL and “be a small part of their efforts to help the Kentucky libraries get back to serving their communities.”

With the efforts of the Russellville and Haleyville libraries, as well as Clayton Supply in Guin, more than 500 books were collected.

“It just shows what we can accomplish when we work together,” Swinney said. “Our plant rented a U-Haul and loaded it with the books and other items. They were delivered Aug. 20.”

Among the libraries that lost all their books are two elementary school libraries and one middle school library in Letcher County, Kentucky. Those wishing to send new or gently-used books in the elementary and middle school age range may ship them to Board of Education, 752 Hazard Road, Whitesburg, KY 41858.