Destroyed Lac-Megantic library gets donations from U.S. neighbours to rebuild

FARMINGTON, Maine – A library destroyed when a runaway train exploded in Lac-Megantic, Que., earlier this summer is getting a helping hand from across the U.S. border.

Libraries throughout Maine are collecting donations to help rebuild the one in the small Quebec community.

Forty-seven people died in the explosion and fire that ensued after an unmanned train with 72 tankers of crude oil derailed and crashed into the centre of the eastern Quebec town on July 6.

In nearby Farmington, Maine — Lac-Megantic’s sister city — public library director Melanie Coombs launched an effort to help the Quebec town’s library.

Coombs says Lac-Megantic’s library lost its collection of 60,000 books, except for a few that customers had borrowed, and also lost irreplaceable records and photos documenting the town’s history.

Coombs reached out to libraries across Maine, and they agreed to put donation cans at their circulation desks.

The rail tankers that derailed in Lac-Megantic were carrying crude oil that originated in the U.S. Midwest and were carried on part of their journey by CPR.