Larra Clark
ALA Media Relations
For Immediate Release
April 4, 2006

ALA to present $100,000 to rebuild Mississippi libraries

during National Library Week (April 2-8)

(CHICAGO) The American Library Association (ALA) will nearly triple the amount of the "Rebuild Mississippi Libraries Fund" when it contributes $100,000 during National Library Week (April 2-8).
ALA President Michael Gorman will present the check to Mississippi Library Association (MLA) President Susan Cassagne and Mississippi Library Commission Executive Director Sharman Smith on Tuesday, April 4, at the Waveland Public Library.
The "Rebuild Mississippi Libraries Fund" is a joint relief fund set up by MLA, the Mississippi Library Commission and the Friends of Mississippi Libraries.

Hurricane Katrina damaged or destroyed hundreds of public, school and academic libraries in Mississippi and surrounding states.
It is estimated that it will take $40 million to rebuild the public libraries in Mississippi, and another $40 million to replace school library collections in the state.
The library of the University of Mississippi-Gulf Coast, built in 2002, may have to be totally rebuilt.

"Healthy libraries are an essential part of rebuilding our Gulf Coast communities," Gorman said. "Activities from children's story time to applying for FEMA relief online to helping students to continue their studies in schools and universities can only go on if we re-open libraries with the library staff and collections needed to help people restart their lives. As we have seen in recent months, people turn to libraries more than ever in a time of crisis."

About 2,000 ALA members, corporations, institutions, foundations, Friends groups, and individuals have contributed to the relief fund - which has raised more than $300,000 since September. The donation to Mississippi will be used to rebuild affected public, school and academic libraries. More than 500 people already have volunteered to work on service projects while attending the ALA Annual Conference (June 22-28) in New Orleans.

"News reports of the devastation along the Mississippi Gulf Coast do not prepare you for the reality of the destruction to these communities. We are grateful to ALA and its members, certainly for their fundraising efforts, but also for helping raise awareness of the continuing needs of the rebuilding efforts," said MLA's Cassagne.

"It is imperative that library services of all types (public, school, college/university) be restored as quickly as possible to bring a sense of normalcy back to our communities. Restoring our libraries will take years and millions of dollars.
It is up to all of us to continue our efforts in assisting our colleagues and friends, and ensuring that library services are, and will remain, a major part of the overall rebuilding of our communities," she added.

The ALA also has helped to match over 300 libraries nationwide with libraries in the Gulf region through its "Adopt a Library" program - which has brought direct funding and technical assistance to affected Gulf Coast libraries.
Adopted libraries in Mississippi include the Harrison County Library, the Gulfview Elementary School in Bay St. Louis, St. Martin's Upper Elementary in Ocean Springs and the Hancock County Library System.

For more information on the ALA relief efforts and to donate, please visit