It was early on a chilly October morning in the sleepy town of Sumner, Washington when the fire broke out. Main Street, mainly full of very old wooden structures, was endangered. Sumner has attracted people from all over the area to its antique shops, espresso stops, a pub & the largest genealogy library in Western Washington. The fire started in the pub next to the library - Arson! The fire quickly spread, eating up the ancient, dry wood & leaping skyward as it soon became a 5-alarm fire.
The phone lines started heating up at about 7 a.m. as the word spread to all the volunteers who worked at the library. We discovered the library suffered smoke but no fire damage, thanks to a brick wall between the two businesses. The 15,000+ books were packed & sent by the insurance company to be treated for smoke damage. The computers, scanners, copiers & furniture were a total loss. The specially made bookcases joined the books in a safe storage area waiting for a new home.
The building suffered more damage than initially realized. We (the Library) have been informed it may be as long as two years before all this is completed & when done, the rent will be more than $5,000 a month or whatever the market will bear.
Heritage Quest Research Library, the largest genealogy & research library in Western Washington, is manned 100% by volunteers & is supported by memberships & donations We had been paying less than $2,500 a month in rent, so this jump is staggering. Looking elsewhere we have discovered that $5,000 is the average for the amount of space we need.
Most of our volunteers are seniors with a passion not only for their family history but for helping others find theirs. A lot of our 15,000+ books are rare and have information regarding family history that would be difficult to find elsewhere.
Right now the future of this unique & special library is in jeopardy. There is concern by our Board of Trustees that we cannot meet the increased rent either in Sumner or elsewhere. We have been told we have to prove to the Board that we can raise enough money for the first & second years' rent including deposits, moving costs & operating expenses to be able to stay afloat. If we can raise enough money we may be able to buy a building so our future is not so tenuous.
If you can find it in your heart to help us reach our goal - or surpass it - we would be eternally grateful!
HERITAGE QUEST RESEARCH LIBRARY is a 501(c)3 registered non-profit organization.