Cushing Public Library Suffers Earthquake Damage

cushing-damageLocal Library Friends Group Welcomes Financial Donations

The 5.0 quake that hit the Cushing area the evening of Sunday, November 6, damaged dozens of buildings in the city’s downtown area, including the Cushing Public Library.

The area was closed off for a couple of days, and ODL was unable to get through via phone before Veterans Day arrived, when state government offices were closed. So, we didn’t get a chance to check in with library director La Dawn Conner until Monday, November 14.

“On the whole, we’re very blessed,” Conner said. “It’s just the building we’re worried about. This is a 1939 building, so we’re very concerned about the air quality.”

From the photos the library shared (at left), you can see cracks in the library’s walls, masonry, and floor. Debris rained down from the ceiling and walls. Office furniture and bookshelves were knocked over.

Conner said an insurance adjuster had been in to look at the damage, but engineers have not made it to the building yet.

“We’ve been a low priority because the city had so many infrastructure problems that had to be taken care of first. This weekend, everybody began getting back to normal and have started to ask about the library.”

Complicating the recovery is the fact that so many of the community’s residents had damage to their own property that they had to address. “I had a water break and I still have a swimming pool in my backyard,” Conner laughed.

The library director spoke to us from her office, which she said is still filled with debris. “We had to clear the public areas first, and we’re slowly working on our offices.”

The library’s collection seems to have escaped harm. “Out of all of the books that fell, we haven’t seen any damage. We have lost nothing from the collection,” Conner said. Some of the books were under piles of glass, and the only damage found was a few cracked spines, “but it’s hard to say if it was the earthquake or if they were already that way.”

While the main collection seems to be fine, Conner said the library did have damage to items that will be hard to replace. An antique map fell off the wall and will need to be assessed. In addition, a collection of model ships donated to the library in the 1940s also suffered damage.

To help with that damage and any unforeseen problems that arise due to the quake—and that are not covered by city insurance—the local library friends group is accepting donations.

If you would like to help, send your check to:
Friends of the Cushing Public Library
P.O. Box 1269
Cushing, Oklahoma 74023

We’re grateful that our colleagues and friends in Cushing are safe!

We can imagine how excited Cushing residents were when their “new” library opened in 1939. We know they continue to be proud of this art deco treasure, which was built to inspire generations of learners. We hope this important public building continues to serve its community for many years to come.