SRRT Statement to ALA Council, 6/28/06

[reprinted with permission from the Library Juice blog]
The Action Council of the Social Responsibilities Task Force made the decision that we could not leave New Orleans without issuing a statement bearing witness to what we have seen, heard and experienced while here during ALA’s annual meeting.

We have witnessed that the spirit, hospitality and creativity of New Orleans is alive and well. So too is the generosity of all those who have traveled from all points of the globe to lend a hand in cleaning debris, in restocking shelves, rebuilding homes and in bringing rays of hope to a community of people, many of whom feel largely abandoned and forgotten.

We have also witnessed that New Orleans and surrounding regions remain terribly broken and languishing nearly one year after hurricanes and political negligence inflicted horrible injuries from which the area continues to suffer.

We urge all our fellow ALA members and friends to return to our homes and libraries ready to share what we have witnessed and to pressure the federal government to mobilize the financial, organizational and human resources necessary to make this region and its people whole again. SRRT also wishes to note that the greatness of the United States lies, not in its military power, mammoth bank accounts, mighty corporations and culture of consumption, but rather in the simple humanity, generous hearts and helping hands of its ordinary people. These are the forces that can heal this region, and they must be given the resources and opportunity to do so.

librarian finds peace, leaving New Orleans

Just got an update that New Orleans Public Library resumed circulation of books today at the Nix and Hubbell Branches. Weekly bloggish updates of the recovery efforts are on this page. This all, however, just a feel good intro to this heartwarming librarian story Evacuated librarian lends hand, finds peace

When Xavier University’s library director decided to leave New Orleans hours ahead of Hurricane Katrina, fate put him on the road to a mutually beneficial relationship with a library miles away.

the Cita Dennis Hubbell Library in NOLA

The Cita Dennis Hubbell library is one of three public libraries to have reopened in the city of New Orleans since Katrina. A team of volunteers have set up a website for the library’s specific community, posting news and local information in an easy to use format. For a library system that has had to lay off 90% of their staff, this is no small accomplishment. [mefi projects]

guidelines for donating books, computers and money to Louisiana’s libraries

Guidelines for Donating to Libraries Affected by Katrina and Rita from the State library of Louisiana. [text version]

job opening for displaced librarian, pass it on

ALA President Michael Gorman posted this to the Council list and I made a web page for it using pasta. Please pass this information, or this idea, on.

Temporary Librarian Position, For Librarian Displaced by Hurricane Katrina

In order to offer support to those in our profession who have been affected by Hurricane Katrina, the Henry Madden Library of the California State University, Fresno would like to hire one librarian with an ALA accredited M.L.S. or equivalent who was displaced and/or unemployed because of the hurricane.

Dues relief for ALA members in Katrina zone

The American Library Association is giving a six month extention of ALA dues to any member in zip codes starting with356, 366, 369, 393, 394, 395, 396, 700, 701, 702, 704, 705, 706, 707, or 708, those that are declared “closed” by the US Postal Service. More ALA updates on their Libraries and Hurricane Katrina page

Geaux Library Project, links and news

The Geaux Library Project [see blog here] has been making great strides providing relief assistance to Katrina victims and the displaced all over the South. They are looking for volunteers, mostly onsite but some remotely. Got some library geek skills that you’d like to use to do some good? Here is the call for volunteers that went out to listservs. Rochelle has been ably follwing this project and others since the diaster, keep tabs on her that bitch Katrina category for more updates.

Libraries change lives right here, right now

Marylaine Block has a more personal look at how librarians in areas affected by Katrina are helping people get their lives back.

Sandra Fernandez, Public Relations Manager for [Houston Public Library], says that they’ve been operating an impromptu “branch” library on site at the convention center since Saturday, September 3. She says, “We have Library staff there, as well as volunteers. We don’t have a circulating library at that location. The materials are all either donated recently for that library or provided by the Friends of the Houston Public Library — which means that when something is “checked out” at that library, they can keep the materials. We have (as of yesterday) approximately 16 computers there, with internet access, games and reading materials for all ages. We are holding storytimes throughout the day as well. The GRB [convention center] is just a mile or two from the Central Library, and we are offering temporary library cards to all evacuees which then can then be used at all library locations.”

can you help the LA State Library with technology equipment?

The State Library of Lousiana has increased its hours so that people can use its computers. They could use even more computers and printers. If you can donate, please help. You may remember that Rebecca Hamilton the Louisiana State Librarian has been at her job only a month or two, though she was Associate State Librarian for a few years previously.

“To all-we are in desperate need of computers/printers. We are being inundated with evacuees needing to file FEMA applications, unemployment, search for loved ones, etc. and are coming into our public libraries to use the computers. Our libraries have greatly extended their hours to accommodate the people but they need additional computers and printers. If you can please put the word out that if anyone wants to help immediately, this is our greatest need.”

resources in a post-Katrina world

The LibraryLaw blog has some summaries of libraries’ efforts to get organized, find colleagues and get connected in the aftermath of Katrina. She points to the NOPL list [mentioned here already] as well as AALL’s LawLibAssist blog set up for law librarians to help friends and colleagues. The LA State Library now has a big list of links to help evacuees and refugees and librarians with all the aspects of their post-Katrina lives.