ALA’s $20,000 Donation Helps Calcasieu Parish Public Libraries Re-open to Communities in Need

For Immediate Release
Tue, 12/15/2020


Mariel Colbert

Program Officer

Chapter Relations Office


CHICAGO — The record-setting hurricane season hit parts of Louisiana especially hard. Hurricanes Laura and Delta damaged three branches of the Calcasieu Parish Public Library beyond use.  Thanks to a $20,000 donation from the American Library Association’s (ALA) Disaster Relief Fund, three communities in Calcasieu Parish will have portable libraries open soon to help them through difficult times.

After Category 4 Laura in August and Category 2 Delta in October not one of 13 locations of the Calcasieu Parish Public Library escaped unscathed.  Three locations, Epps and Moss Bluff in Lake Charles, and Fontenot in Vinton, became uninhabitable.

Calcasieu’s Outreach department, branch staff and IT quickly put together a plan to provide a once-a-week pop-up library service. But the pop-up service is less than ideal with rain, wind, and cold temperatures.  Residents and businesses need to file insurance and FEMA claims, file for unemployment, find work, do schoolwork, and communicate with loved ones.

The $20,000 donation from the ALA Disaster Relief Fund allows the Library to acquire three portable buildings that will be hooked up to utilities for a return to full, staffed service in January.  In addition, new technology kits will enhance mobile printing, copying, faxing, scanning, and wi-fi service.

ALA President Julius Jefferson noted, “Libraries and their staff are the ultimate second responders, providing services and support after the immediate crisis and then helping members of their community to recover long after the news cameras have gone away.  I am so proud of the ALA members and others who contribute to ALA’s Disaster Relief Fund so that the Calcasieu Parish Library is able to meet its commitment to all parts of the Parish.” 

 “We are so very grateful and thankful for your unbelievable donation that will make a difference in helping our libraries continue to serve their communities,” expressed Laura Richardson, President of the Calcasieu Parish Public Library Board of Control.

“I was absolutely thrilled when ALA contacted me about the Disaster Relief Fund providing support of library service in the Epps, Vinton, and Moss Bluff communities. Each community is unique, has their own special needs, and uses the library differently. I can’t thank ALA enough for their support. Patrons will be so excited to have regular access to much needed library services,” said Margie Harrison, Library Director, Calcasieu Parish Public Library.

To make a contribution to the ALA Disaster Relief Fund, visit