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Malden Fire
The smoldering bookdrop is all that remains of the Malden Library

Malden Library a complete loss in Monday’s Babb Road fire

As part of the devastation of last week’s fire in Malden, their busy community library and computing center was a complete loss.

The branch had recently reopened, after a long shutdown due to COVID-19. Prior to that closure, Malden Library was one of the most utilized locations in the system. While it was only open eight hours per week, the library was particularly popular with the town’s children.

School bus driver Tina Coe says, “For a lot of the kids, the library was all they had. I always knew when it was library day because the kids were extra loud and excited. The minute I’d open the bus doors, they’d sprint to the library.”

Malden Library also provided 24/7 access to the Internet which was a vital link for the town’s residents. While library hours were quite modest, residents commonly milled outside the library utilizing the free service day and night. Inside the library, computer usage, materials checkout and community programs for all ages were extremely popular as well.

To meet immediate needs of Malden residents, we have extended open hours in the Rosalia Library just eight miles down the road. Computer and Wi-Fi access are also being expanded in anticipation of those who might be working on insurance claims or just need to touch base with loved ones. A private space with a webcam-enabled computer will provide privacy to those who need it. Masks are required but available at the library, and social distancing and occupancy limits still apply so it’s recommended to call the library at 509-523-3109 to schedule an appointment.

Friends of the Malden Library are accepting donations to expand library and technology services to those temporarily sheltering in Rosalia, and for future efforts to resume services in Malden such as internet access, outreach programs, and ultimately rebuilding the library. Donations can be sent to the Friends of the Malden Library care of the Colfax branch at 102 S. Main St. The library is not able to accept book donations at this time.

Library Director Kylie Fullmer, who started in her new position on Sept. 8, the day after the fire says, “The outpouring of support for the communities of Malden and Pine City, for our Malden branch manager who lost her home, and for our library has just been incredible to see. My heart goes out to everyone affected by this tragedy, but it’s heartwarming to see how our communities come together during times of need.”

Malden Branch Manager, Vanessa Place, who is already back to work filling the new expanded hours at the Rosalia branch shared on the Malden library’s Facebook page that “Our community is amazing and I know we are personally overwhelmed but from the breaking hearts of Malden thank you to everyone helping in the smallest ways.”

For more information or additional ways to support the community of Malden, visit the library’s website at www.whitco.lib.wa.us or contact Fullmer directly at kylie@whitco.lib.wa.us. or 509-397-4366

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