To volunteer, head on over to our Jagger Recovery page and sign up for a shift. You can also share your memories, send us your message of support, offer skills or material, or make a financial donation.
It became clear, very quickly, that we would not be able to salvage the material in the Jagger Library with only UCT Libraries Staff. We brought in our families, our friends, everyone we knew. It still wasn’t enough So we put out a public call for volunteers, which spread across social media very quickly*. As the poor people who joined up early on will be aware, we were not fully prepared for the response we got. And it took a while before we got our processes around signing up sorted out.
Some of these lovely human beings have come in regularly to help out, some have squeezed in shifts around their jobs, and many have given up their weekends to help get the material out of Jagger. And let me tell you, it may have been our smallest store, but there is so much squeezed in there. I worked there, I spent my days going up and down the ramps and stairs, working with the AV material in the basement, trying to find the material users had requested. I had been everywhere in that store. And even I had no idea how very much material was in there. It has been over a week and there is still so much to be done.
There are people taking material off the shelves, and putting it in crates and boxes. There is a chain of people passing crates up out of the building. Some of those go over to the triage tent, where there are some conservators and a whole lot of volunteers dealing with material that needs urgent attention. Other crates go into whichever vehicle is doing transport that day, and are driven to one of the other buildings. Where they are unloaded, by more volunteers, put in place, by more volunteers, and more conservators and (you guessed it) more volunteers assess the material and determine if it is considered safe, or in need of some attention.
We had church groups, we had academics dispatch their students, and we had the actual academics themselves getting involved. I’m extremely jealous of the many older people who were helping to move the crates and standing for hours on end in the triage tent. So many past students and ex-staff members joined us. The sea cadets came (more on them tomorrow).
So very many people have come to help us, and I wish I could thank every single one of them here, but there are just too many. Also, we’re not finished yet. You all know who you are, and I hope you know how much we appreciate every single one of you.
*I wanted to say that the posts spread “like wildfire”, but I think you’ll agree that that is the most inappropriate metaphor possible in this case.