Librarians Chris Dunham, Christina McGowan and Jackie Kremer, joined more than 900 library volunteers from around the country helping with community projects and library rebuilding efforts during the American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference in New Orleans (June 22-28).
New Orleans is struggling, but isn’t forgotten. Christina and Jackie spent the day, June 23th, working with Habitat for Humanity, helping to build homes for the homeless in the new Musicians Village project in the Upper Ninth Ward. Chris gutted the interior of a home devastated by flooding as part of a home building project by Operations Helping Hands, a Catholic Charities program.It was a wonderful day, and they felt very good about what they were able to accomplish in that short time.
Other volunteer work done by librarians from around the nation included a complete interior renovation of the New Orleans Public Library’s Children’s Resource Center along with repair, clean up, landscaping, shelving, sorting and cataloging materials at over a dozen school, public, community college and university libraries. In addition, library volunteers helped clean out and repair homes around New Orleans with community groups like Habitat for Humanity and Common Ground.
Eight of 13 New Orleans Public Library facilities were damaged beyond repair, and 31 public libraries in Louisiana remain closed.
The ALA Annual Conference is the world’s largest library gathering and the largest conference to be held in New Orleans since last year’s hurricanes. About 18,000 people attended more than 2,000 programs, special events and meetings. The conference brought about $20 million in much-needed revenue to the city.