On Tuesday, February 18, 2020, the public library in Porterville, California, was engulfed by a huge fire that burned the building to the ground with all of its books not on loan inside.
Unfortunately, two Porterville firefighters, Capt. Raymond Figueroa, 35, and Firefighter Patrick Jones, 25, were killed while fighting the blaze.
The library, built in 1953, was a total loss.
Porterville, population about 60,000, is located in the Central Valley of California, near the foothills that mark the boundary of the Sequoia National Forest, about half-way between Bakersfield and Fresno.
For those unfamiliar with it, The Central Valley is one of the most productive agricultural areas in the world. On less than 1 percent of the total farmland in the United States, the Central Valley produces 8 percent of the nation’s agricultural output by value. More than 230 crops are grown there and the Valley is the primary source for tomatoes, almonds, grapes, cotton, apricots, and asparagus consumed in the United States.
Porterville’s population is 65.4% Latino, 26.7% White, and 4.4% Asian. Over half the city’s residents speak Spanish. The Latino population includes new arrivals to the United States who provide seasonal farm labor as well as third and fourth-generation residents, some of whom own substantial tracts of agricultural land.
PG’s daughter and her family live in Porterville.
Porterville needs a new library and that library needs new books.
Author Anna Lee Huber has started an online campaign asking:
authors, writers organizations, and publishers to pledge to donate books to help rebuild Porterville City Library’s collection. These book donations will be included in the Figueroa and Jones Memorial Collection to honor the service and sacrifice of those two brave heroes.
. . . .
I am only asking for pledges at this time for two reasons. First, the Porterville City Library is still in the early stages of securing funding and locating a site for their new library, so they have no place to store a new influx of donated books. Second, the library still needs to assess the book donations they have received from their community and other sources, so they do not know which titles will be needed. Curating a list of pledged books at this stage will not only assist them in planning, but also provide the library and community encouragement and support.
Anna has a page on her website where authors can pledge specific titles they will donate. Mrs. PG has already pledged all of her books. The donation page is
Feel free to pass on links via your own blogs or email lists.
Here’s a link to Anna’s Amazon Author Page