MCCA, ALA team up to support direct relief to Haiti

Mac Daniel | Director of Communications

<?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />MASSACHUSETTS CONVENTION CENTER AUTHORITY

(617) 954.2430 Fax: 617.954.2085

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Contact: Steve Zalusky
Manager of Communications
ALA Public Information Office
(847) 962-3730

For Immediate Release,
January 18, 2010

BOSTON - The Massachusetts Convention Center Authority (MCCA) and the American Library Association (ALA) have announced a joint donation of $27,084.50 to directly support relief efforts in Haiti.

The effort was set up in less than 24 hours by the two groups after the deadly earthquake on Jan. 12. Donations were made by many of the more than 11,000 attendees at the ALA 2010 Midwinter Meeting in Boston over the weekend, and were matched in kind by the MCCA. Massachusetts State Representative Linda Dorcena Forry, the second Haitian-American to be elected to state office in Massachusetts, received the donation on behalf of the local Haitian community.

“Several members of our staff lost family in the earthquake,” said James E, Rooney, Executive Director of the MCCA. “We wanted to respond with immediate humanitarian support, and helping ALA attendees to respond individually doubled these efforts.”

Boston is home to the third largest community of Haitians outside of Haiti. “ALA has a long history of helping libraries rebuild after natural disasters,” said ALA President Dr. Camila Alire. “But being able to donate personally to relief efforts while in Boston has a special poignancy. We are proud to be working with the MCCA in promoting these efforts.”

While the extent of damage to the National Library of Haiti is still unknown, ALA will be available to assist in its rebuilding when that occurs, modeling its work on efforts undertaken after the 2004 Tsunami and projects to rebuild and re-equip libraries following hurricanes Katrina and Rita. “Libraries not only provide access to information, they help preserve the cultural heritage of a people,” said Alire. “Working with Haitian librarians after the immediate humanitarian crisis has passed will help ensure that an irreplaceable national legacy will not be lost.”

One of the core missions of the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority, which operates the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center and the Hynes Convention Center in the Back Bay, is to give back to local communities. Because the tragedy in Haiti impacted several MCCA staff, and because of the role Boston plays in Haiti’s world community, this combined fundraising effort with the leadership and members of the ALA was a vital success.