BY JEN VAUGHN – Sunday night, a heroic group of cartoonists clamored their way over rocks, train tracks and rushing waters to evacuate the Schulz Graphic Novel Library.

1-DISOBEY THE LOCAL AUTHORITIES The police asked the cartoonists to evacuate themselves from the Library and they listened…until the police went away and the water receded a bit at which time a wily Michelle Ollie and James Sturm (respectively president and director of The Center for Cartoon Studies) led students, alum and staff back to the building that houses the Schulz Library. Propane tanks and train cargo cars slammed into the bridge and building as the water shifted. The surging water crested high and threatened the second floor of the building to the point that everyone had to leave. Many of these students couldn’t get back to their homes because of the flooding of a lower street but luckily, they had friends everywhere!

2-GET ACCOMPLICES Not only did the cartoonists come but thanks to word of mouth and social networking, several ‘townies’ as they are called showed up to help the students load books into cars to drive the short distance from library to storage facility. It’s amazing to hear that guy who always wears the gray shirt at the coffee shop schlepped books around in the wee hours (lookin’ at you, John and Jevan).

Carol Thompson unloads the car of books in the wee morning hours

2-IGNORE THE TIME All day long on Sunday, White River Junction held its collective breath waiting for high rains and fast wind. We didn’t really get it; what we got was surging water from everywhere else swelled the White River and Connecticut River, quickly filling up our small town like a fish bowl in the sea. The saviors of the library worked until 4 in the morning, take 70% of the books to the storage facility the school uses for book processing and other such dark, mysterious things.

A triumphant librarian is a happy librarian, Caitlin M. practically floats

4-COME BACK TO THE SCENE OF THE CRIME Not forgetting that mold was a factor with all the rain, the students rallied the next day around 10am to descend upon the library yet again with boxes upon boxes. Since the move was not as dire (water receded and never actually entered the library), proper labels were scrawled on boxes to make it a bit easier for Caitlin M., Katie Moody, Dave W. and myself. With CCS starting classes on Tuesday, it became an unofficial orientation event!

Boxing the rest of the books

Second year cartooning student Bill Bedard gathers books.

LtoR: me, Sophie Goldstein and Melanie Gillman fill the Main Street Museum’s Art Car with books

The shelves are quickly emptied.

5-SNACKS Trust me on this one.

6-CONQUER AND MOVE TO THE NEXT TERRITORY While the bounty and treasure of the Library has been saved (we lost not a SINGLE book), the building in which the Schulz Library resides in flooded on the first floor. Armed to the teeth with knee-high wellies, cut-off jeans (black, of course), gloves and a LET’S-DO-THIS attitude, several students attacked the mud-filled rooms of the Museum. Jon Chad, Caitlin M., Mo Oh, Carl Antonowicz, Keny Widjaja, and Melanie Gillman just to name a few dug ditches to empty the new ‘pond’ in the parking lot, carried Santa only knows how many gaudy Christmas decorations out of the storage and even hauled out a full-sized, working loom. We’ve still got more work to do but the town pulls together when it needs to.

Salvaged yarn and washed-off artifacts dry in the afternoon next to the large train car

Jon Chad helps muck out a rented studio in the first floor

7-MAKE IT RAIN While The Center for Cartoon Studies has a Paypal donation set up in general, the area it is currently focused on is the Main Street Museum. As part of the original visual CCS campaign by Kevin Huizenga, the MSM is an experimental taxonomy and taxidermy museum that plays around with what is and isn’t part of ‘museumology’. Following the tradition of the German Kunstkamera or Wunderkammer (also known as ‘cabinet of curiosities’) the Museum is littered with small, intricate exhibits featuring good luck charms, doll shoes and even local dehydrated or mummified cat corpses! Curator David Fairbanks-Ford began the MSM in 1992 and owns the building in which it lives: a gorgeous modified ol’ firehouse that used to have SIX feet of pidgeon poop in the bell tower.

The Museum hosts a number of events year round from rock ‘n’ roll shows to book releases, from private hillbilly parties to book releases, from animation shows to even a reception for Charles Burns (what better venue?!). Cartoonists find the Museum a cool place to draw on hot summer days and there is nothing finer than sitting out on the deck shouting at friends in the river.

Charles Burns and CCS Alum ’11 Blair Sterrett

Hat Doffing and Umbrella Etiquette taught exclusively at the Main Street Museum

As an integral part of the Halloween festivities in town, the Gory Daze Carnival is hosted inside and outside, the Museum is a fixture in the life of White River Junction. Many locals came to the aid of the Museum today like local film-maker Matt Bucy and Broadway costume designer Robina D’arcy-Fox and a gaggle of cartoonists. David FF and his crew plan on tearing the dry wall out as soon as tomorrow to prevent mold and gutting the first floor (the Schulz Library is on the second floor). If you see fit to become a member or donate, please do so! While the Schulz Graphic Novel Library will have a temporary location as soon as we reorganize the books, we hope to move it back to the endearing space inside the Main Street Museum as soon as possible.

Because what other museum would have a collection of crocheted poodles right outside the most amazing graphic novel and zine collection in the world?

Photos by Melanie Gillman, Keny Widjaja, Michelle Ollie and Jen.

Jen Vaughn finally fulfilled her wish to be one of those nasty dirt faeries at the Renaissance Fair except she was throwing away 250 pounds of wet cardboard in a parking lot to a crowd of no one.


  1. Buddha bless Jen Vaughn, Caitlin McGurk, and the rest of the crew! It was heartening to see all the friends and locals come by to pitch in with students and staff and/or give vocal support. What a way for us all to kick off the school year …

  2. This isn’t heroic – it is reckless stupidity. The emergency services don’t ask people to leave an area for fun and while it worked out this time, they placed themselves in a situation where if trapped or hurt, firefighters, policemen and others might have had to risk their lives to save them.

  3. Charles, my cheekiness must not be evident in each subsection heading. Your comment is valid but at no point where the students in danger of being washed away and left several times for higher ground, only to return once the the water began to recede.

  4. As a fellow librarian, I applaud the selfless, tireless efforts of Caitlin and the entire CCS crew. I have no doubt that personal safety was kept in mind.

    This was a great accomplishment!

  5. Living in a basement apartment, I know the panic which happens when the pumps fail… (Everything’s on pallets for the past seven years, nothing was lost this weekend.)

    To give some sense of the deluge:
    Sunday morning at 2:30 AM, the Connecticut River at West Lebanon was at 5.39 feet. Monday morning at 2:30 AM, the river crested at 29.62 feet. It is now at 15.5 feet. It is the fourth highest level on record, and this height has not been seen since 1936.

    Graph and topo map here:,1,1,1,1,1,1,1%22

    CCS proper is also on the flood plain, but a bit higher up.

    I donated yesterday, in memory of Snoopy’s doghouse fire.

    And Jen?
    “Listen, strange women lyin’ in ponds distributin’ swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony.”

  6. You guys were amazing. And are amazing. I walked past the MSM today and wow, that is scary. Everyone did such an amazing job of getting all the books out and I hope that they’ll be able to find a new home soon.

  7. My thoughts are with Jen, JonChad, and the rest of the CCS crew during this challenging time. Thanks for sharing these photos with us, Jen. Wish I could be there to pitch in. <:(

  8. I applaud the efforts to save the library! Jus’ the mere thought of watching a precious resource like that float away is maddening! I can see you have a tight group of concerned & dedicated tooners! Kudos, y’all!

  9. whoa… methinks Charles missed the point AND woke up on the wrong side of the bed of nails. Lighten up, darlin. Congrats on not losing any books or suffering any casualties. Best wishes on your clean up efforts. :)