BY LISA DONOVAN
The Cincinnati Enquirer
NEW RICHMOND - Money and books are trickling in to the Clermont County Public Library here, more than a month after floodwaters destroyed close to a quarter of its collection.
Of the roughly 23,000 volumes in Clermont County's New Richmond branch, about 3,000 were checked out at the time floodwaters submerged homes and businesses in low-lying areas in early March, said Sonia Long, library director.
Those volumes and 2,000 more books checked out from the county library's eight other branches will probably raise the casualty list to about 5,000, she said.
Nearly all of the books that were on the library's shelves were saved, she said.
Most of the destroyed books succumbed to mold that seems to thrive on the wet paper, Ms. Long said.
''It's very rare to bring a book back with mold on it, because it eats away at the paper and destroys it,'' she said.
Much of the collection in the 212 Market St. branch was moved to higher ground, eventually landing in the old Milford branch on Lila Avenue where the books were sprayed with disinfectant and allowed to dry in cool air, Ms. Long said.
The Friends of the New Bremen Library in northwestern Ohio's Auglaize County has donated $500 to the library; Cleveland-based Meisner Inc. is donating paperback books; and St. Ursula Villa in Mount Lookout is donating new juvenile books, Ms. Long said.
The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County is asking its ''Friends'' organization and any donors to help replace the library's lost periodicals, said Amy Banister, library spokeswoman.
Clermont County's library officials have turned the misfortune into an opportunity to assess New Richmond's collection. Officials are asking to work with the library to see what the needs are.
''We have to see what the holes and the gaps are in our collection,'' she said.
''We want to hold off on donations, because we have to get a more accurate picture of what we need. We may not have the room to take every single donation, but we certainly appreciate people thinking about us.''
For information on donations, call Sonia Long at 732-2736.