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Loma Prieta Earthquake and the Santa Cruz Public Libraries

One Story of Many

Giving Help Wherever It Was Needed

At 5:04 PM, on October 17th, our Outreach worker, Catherine Steele, and her assistant were about a hundred yards down the road from Murphy's Camp, a migrant farmworker housing facility. They drove into the camp and began translating into Spanish the English-language radio broadcasts which brought news from the outside world of what had happened and what was going to happen. They continued for two and half hours, stopping when Spanish language broadcasts began.

Catherine subsequently worked round the clock for the next two days, catching some sleep on a cot. She and other library staff answered the Community Information Service phones at the Civic Auditorium. Then until mid-December, she served as a translator for the Red Cross staff who helped to find permanent housing for hundreds of displaced people in and around Watsonville.

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