Libraries and Hurricane Katrina

      martin luther king public library, new orleans, post-katrina       martin luther king public library, new orleans, today      
Martin Luther King Public Library, New Orleans, post-Katrina and today

After hundreds of libraries were damaged or destroyed by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005, ALA led a national effort to provide relief and assistance, raising $500,000, which was distributed through ALA Chapters in the region to all types of libraries. In addition, ALA set up an “Adopt-A-Library” program in which 300 libraries from outside the Gulf region provided direct support to individual libraries in need. In June 2006, ALA was the first conference in New Orleans since the hurricanes. Through ALA’s Libraries Build Communities project, over 900 librarians and library workers from around the country volunteered to help rebuild libraries, homes, and other community sites.

ALA has finished its direct fundraising efforts, but libraries in the region are still recovering three years after the storms. Please refer to the resources below information related to relief funds, book donations, disaster recovery and prevention, and reading resources to help victims cope.

Other relief funds

List of organizations that have established Disaster Relief Funds for libraries affected by Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Gustav, Ike, and others.

Book donations

ALA is no longer collecting books or other materials for Gulf Coast libraries, nor are we aware of any other organizations who are currently doing so.

Please see also ALA Library Fact Sheet 12: Sending Books to Needy Libraries: Book Donation Programs

Disaster recovery and prevention

List of resources and organizations that provide information on disaster preparedness and recovery.

Reading resources to help victims cope

  • ALSC Resources. The Association for Library Services to Children (ALSC) has created a list of books to help children deal with disasters.

  • YALSA Resources. The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) has developed a list of books about overcoming disaster and stories of survival for teens. The booklist, which features fiction and nonfiction, was created to help librarians, educators and concerned adults guide teens to books that may help them cope after Hurricane Katrina. They have also provided links to recommended websites with information about helping children and teens cope after a disaster.