A Report on the Return of Gulf Coast Libraries in Mississippi and Louisiana for the Gulf Coast Libraries Project

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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.
Disaster recovery, Gulf coast, Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Rita