Community comes together to repair Illinois Valley library

In the days following the break-in to the Illinois Valley branch of Josephine Community Libraries, library staff and volunteers have been working with the Josephine County Commissioners and the Sheriff’s Office to make repairs and investigate the crime.

On the morning of Tuesday, February 23, robbers broke in to the Illinois Valley branch, ransacked the building, and stole cash and other items. Perpetrators cut phone and Internet lines and also destroyed the fuse box. The front door window was shattered. Every drawer and cabinet was opened and items tossed about and vandalized. Children’s toys were thrown out on the lawn.

A special collection of minerals and gemstones on display at the library by the Kerbyville Museum was stolen, with one large gemstone valued at $800. No books, CDs, or DVDs were stolen, but a computer screen was damaged and an iPad was stolen. Estimated cost of repair and replacement is $5,000.

“We are fortunate to be covered by insurance,” said Kate Lasky, JCLI executive director. “We will still have to cover the deductible and raise money for a new alarm system, so donations are much needed.”

The day after the break-in, volunteers helped Branch Manager Roberta Lee clean up property and restore order. Josephine County Building and Maintenance Department quickly repaired the fuse box, restoring electricity so the library could open at 2 pm to the public.

Deputy Ken Lehrman has been assigned the case and is working with Library Operations Manager Norma Singer to file police reports and collect information. The investigation is ongoing.

“We are so grateful to the volunteers who have helped with cleanup and making donations for repairs,” said Singer. “The Building and Maintenance Department of Josephine County called as soon as they heard the news of the break-in to secure the building and offer support.”

Library staff and volunteers are working to raise funds to offset the cost of the damages. People interested in making a donation can visit the Illinois Valley branch restoration fundraiser page.

“Josephine Community Libraries would like to thank the community for their overwhelming support during the last few days,” said Kate Lasky, JCLI executive director.

Anyone with information that may lead to the arrest of the perpetrators in the case are encouraged to contact Deputy Lehrman with the Josephine County Sheriff’s Office.