We owe our library’s recovery from the fire that heavily damaged our historic building to the generous volunteers and businesses that helped us regrow our book collection. Read all about it in a piece written by reporter Johanna Willett for the Arizona Daily Star:
Walking into the library at the Downtown Community School Inc., you would never know smoke blackened the room and all of its books just a year ago. A few of the kids in the preschool flip pages. Most wiggle around the room, crawling through play tunnels and scrambling onto couches. The bookshelves are mostly full and boxes of books still sit unpacked in the little office. That’s thanks to a book drive several Tucson companies did as part of United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona’s Days of Caring. School director and founder Emily McCrea says about 500 books were lost in an electrical fire that devastated the Barrio Viejo preschool at 614 S. Meyer Ave. in July 2016, closing it for a year. Insurance covered the cost of the repairs, McCrea says. “The building was condemned for many months, and we rebuilt it here,” McCrea says. “Smoke damaged most of our books, and then some things were actually burnt to the ground. If it wasn’t burnt, there was a black layer of smoke over everything.” When the school reopened this school year, McCrea and her small staff tried to scrub the soot off the books, and although it worked, it was also a lot of work. Story time meant ashy fingers. They needed a literary makeover. And they got it.