The Lamar State College-Orange library began collecting books  back in October for local libraries seriously impacted by Hurricane Ike. Normally each year around the holidays, the library collects children’s books for the American Association of University Women (AAUW) group, “A Book of their Own,” but this year they collected books for the libraries in Bridge City and Orange.

The average cost of a basic elementary school library collection is $80,000. 

The Bridge City Public Library suffered significant damage from the tidal surge from Hurricane Ike in September, just like all the residents and businesses in the small community of 8,600. Some books were saved by librarian Mary Montgomery and are being stored until renovations are complete. 

The library in Bridge City began as a dream in 1985 when a small committee of five women opened a savings account for fundraising.

In 1986, a study committee conducted a survey throughout the public schools and with citizens with 96.5 percent responding favorably for a public library. In June 1988, the city council passed an ordinance that established the Bridge City Public Library and shortly after the Friends of the Bridge City Public Library was formed. The charter president was Charlotte Chiasson with more than 200 initial members. In 1989, the city of Bridge City constructed the new library building on Parkside Drive. Funds from the city only paid for the construction material with donations by the Friends for the remainder. Men of the community under the direction of Johnny Scales volunteered their labor to do the actual construction.

The Friends are excited about the recent fundraiser hosted by the LSC-O library. Books were donated to not only the public library, but also the Bridge City school libraries as well. Books were donated by Lamar University, the Klein and Fort Bend school districts of Houston, and the Houston area Girl Scouts. LSC-O library director Mary McCoy was pleasantly surprised by the amount of books donated, and expects those that receive the books be surprised as well. She and the library staff spent a lot of time picking up and sorting through truck loads of books. With over 100 boxes of gently used and new books collected, the Bridge City Book Drive was a huge success. They also raised approximately $325 from general donations.

The Friends continue to support the library by purchasing items not covered by the city budget. They host the summer reading programs, a reading program for preschoolers, and volunteer at the library. The Bridge City Public Library is not presently operable but hopes to be renovated during the spring of 2009. 

Also, LSC-O’s Dental Assisting Program’s hosted its first coat drive this month to help keep Southeast Texas families warm this winter. Students collected over 60 coats and sweaters donated by faculty, staff, and students, which were delivered to two local organizations, Friends Helping Friends and Buckner’s Children’s Village.