In 2005, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita damaged many libraries along the Gulf Coast. Due to widespread destruction in communities, library recovery has been slow. With support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, SOLINET implemented two projects in 2006 to insure that library services remain available in the region. The projects provide temporary public library facilities in communities where libraries were destroyed, distribute grants to restore services at academic libraries and support planning in public libraries, and provide education to facilitate recovery. The projects also address planning for long-term recovery and improved preparedness for future disasters.
(LYRASIS, 2007-01-17) Bingham, Elizabeth E.; Santiago, MaryEllin; Nyberg, Sandra
SOLINET, the State Library of Louisiana and the Mississippi Library Commission hosted a Summit in Baton Rouge, LA, November 28-30, 2006, designed to assist libraries in planning for rebuilding after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005. The Summit is part of the Gulf Coast Libraries Project, funded by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and administered by SOLINET. The invitation-only Summit was for teams from the affected libraries in Louisiana and Mississippi. This report is a summary of that summit.
In 2005, over 21 public libraries along the Gulf Coast in Louisiana and Mississippi were
destroyed, seriously damaged and unable to open in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Library leaders in both states quickly realized that libraries had a key role to play in the storm recovery effort and that the resources required to reopen and rebuild all of the
destroyed facilities were beyond their local and state capacity.
By January 2006, efforts on the part of the state libraries in Louisiana and Mississippi and LYRASIS had led to the formation of an advisory committee composed of local library leaders, individuals with experience in library disaster recovery, and others to determine what would be needed to restore public library service along the Gulf Coast. The group contacted the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation with a request for funding to help save and restore 21 of the libraries that had been seriously destroyed during the storm. Shortly after the American Library Association Conference in New Orleans in June 2006 the Gates Foundation announced that they would provide $12.2 million to support the rebuilding effort. This gift launched the Gulf Coast Libraries Project.