Monday, November 22, 2010

Rising from the Ashes

On Thursday November 18, 2010, the Town of Claremont Council building and the attached Claremont Library caught fire.

The next morning, staff rallied together around the empty husk of the great building, grief stricken but still determined to serve the community. That day the Claremont Library Without Walls was born.

The Claremont Library Without Walls concept is about continuing to serve the community, despite the lack of an actual physical library. We are concentrating on how our online resources can best be used, and how we can come to the people since the people can't come to us. We are dealing with the loss of our building, our books, our walls and the daily contact with our readers, but are spirits are high as we dream of the future. 

Working out of the Meals on Wheels building behind the park, we have spent the past few days devising ways to maintain as many of our services as possible. Here are some things we have come up with:
· All Claremont Library items will be accepted for return at Western Suburb libraries.
· All overdue fees and fines are frozen until further notice.
· You will be notified of reserved books that will be available for pickup at other western suburbs libraries.
· We would like to continue our Books on Wheels services, and although we are missing this week’s delivery, we will continue this service and are making it a priority.
· All the Western Suburb libraries have been very generous with offering to share their resources and space. We plan to do some work based from the Grove library in Peppermint Grove within the next few days.

The support and love we have experienced from the community is overwhelming. Thank you for caring.

We look forward to seeing everyone at the Claremont Christmas Carnival.

Please don't hesitate to post further comments below.


  1. Hi my name is Hoi and I learned how to catalogue the DVDs and CDs inside one of the 'librarian office' at Claremont Library few years ago. It broke my heart to see the building is gone but thank you for this blog, and thank you too for the love and service for the community.

  2. Hello
    I was horrified to hear on the news about your library and even more horified when I heard that 2 staff members were in the building at the time. I am so pleased that no one was hurt. I'm sure that all libraries are thinking and talking about you as we are in Swan libraries. Wishing you all the best for your continuation and rebuilding

  3. Dear everyone at Claremont
    Our hearts go out to you all. As the only other local government in WA to have had a library completely destroyed by fire (Bentley in 1978) we're really sorry that you've joined this exclusive club!
    1978 was before almost all staff at Canning (even me) were working here, but we've seen the photos, and can imagine what you must be dealing with.
    Best wishes for the challenges of the months ahead.
    Judi Willmott, Canning

  4. Dear Claremont Library Staff,
    I really feel for you! It must be absolutely devastating losing everything, including all the personal and work resources that you've been collecting for so many years.

    Claremont Library was a beautiful library. I used to love going in there.

    Congratulations on making the best of a terrible situation. I hope that Claremont Library rises like the phoenix from the ashes and is even better than before.

    Best wishes,
    Local History Librarian
    Joondalup Library

  5. You are so inspiring - thanks for sharing this and for your dedication.

  6. Well done on not giving up. It's great to see that you are continuing to serve the community even when it seems almost impossible.

  7. A wonderfully positive and stoic response in the face of a great setback. Best wishes for having Claremont Library rising from the ashes in new premises.

  8. Dear Claremont Library and staff members,

    We are proud of you - for not giving up - but moving forward! Sincere and best wishes.

  9. We'd love to hear more about how the Claremont Library staff are coping with this terrible tragedy.

    Please post more about your journey. We believe a library is so much more than just a building in which books are stored. We'd love to hear about the parts of the library that were not destroyed when the bricks-n-mortar building was.

    Warnbro Community Library

  10. Dear Claremont Library and staff members,

    I've been asked by friends "Does Claremont library want book donations? And if so what is the criteria for books they will accept?"

    I figure, it might be a bit early, but when you have decided, could you let us all know via this blog please?

    Hugs to you all

  11. Hi to you all at Claremont, Gosh, how to turn a negative to a positive! You are out and about in Your wonderful. I am sure that support is coming your way from many different sources. Well done for focusing on what can be rather than what was!
    Justine and all @ ING