ALA volunteers to aid 22 New Orleans libraries, schools, colleges, community organizations during Annual Conference


Larra Clark, Macey Morales

ALA Media Relations

For Immediate Release

May 16, 2006

ALA volunteers to aid 22 New Orleans libraries, schools, colleges, community organizations during Annual Conference

(CHICAGO) More than 900 people will assist with community projects and library rebuilding efforts while attending the American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference in New Orleans (June 22-28). The conference is the world’s largest library gathering and the largest conference to be held in the city since last year’s hurricanes. About 20,000 people are expected to attend more than 2,000 programs, special events and meetings.

The largest volunteer group - more than 200 people - will participate in an "extreme makeover" of the Children’s Resource Center, an historic Carnegie branch of the New Orleans Public Library (NOPL). Highsmith Inc., a Wisconsin-based distributor of library supplies, furniture and equipment, is designing, providing product and coordinating installation and delivery for the project.

In just five days, the 1,600-square-foot library will be stripped of all the old mismatched furniture, painted a buttery yellow, recarpeted, reconfirgured and equipped with all new furnishings. Award-winning children’s book illustrator Susan Guevara also will paint a mural based on her book "Chato and the Party Animals." The renovation will increase the collection up to 33 percent, increase the young adult area, improve the flow of the building and brighten the interior. The ribbon-cutting for the library will take place June 27 at 3:30 p.m.

NOPL’s main library and the Alvar, Hubell, Algiers and East New Orleans branches also will receive attention on the two scheduled community service days - Friday, June 23, and Tuesday, June 27. Work includes clean up, sorting and cataloging materials, storytelling, shelving, landscaping and repair.

"This year we have a unique opportunity to not only network and connect with our peers on issues affecting millions of library users around the globe, but also to put our ideals into practice," said ALA President-Elect Leslie Burger. "Because we believe libraries transform communities, library staff from as far away as Alaska and Maine will help rebuild New Orleans public, school and academic libraries. We have a historic opportunity to make a lasting difference in the Gulf Coast, and I’m amazed by people’s generosity and honored to be a part of this effort."

Volunteers also will assist libraries in Jefferson Parish, the Newcomb College Center for Research for Women, Nunez Community College, Southern University of New Orleans (SUNO), Delgado Community College, Benjamin Franklin High School and four local Catholic schools.

"Being this far away from my family and what they’ve been going through is tough," said Jasmine Rousey, children’s and youth services coordinator for the South Dakota State Library. "I’m so glad librarians have these opportunities." Rousey will be volunteering at Holy Cross High School, where her brother Ian is a junior. Rousey and her mom Terri, the school library media specialist at Mount Carmel Academy, will be attending their first ALA conference this year.

ALA volunteers also will work with Common Ground, Habitat for Humanity, Operation Helping Hands (Catholic Charities) and Second Harvest.

For more information on the ALA - the voice of America’s libraries - and its Annual Conference, please visit For information on ALA hurricane relief efforts, please visit