Katrina's Impact on Libraries
From the American Library Association.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina's August 29 landfall on the Gulf
Coast, the fate of many of the region's libraries is still uncertain.
American Libraries will post news of any library-related damage on an
ongoing basis as we learn of it. Watch this site for updates.
Houston (Tex.) Chronicle, August 31:
Craig Nocaise, 21, a police officer, waited out the storm inside the Pass
Christian (Miss.) Public Library, a branch of the Harrison County Library
System, with 12 other town police. They noticed about a dozen of their
police cars circling the building on a current of water. Then one crashed
through the front door. Water poured in and rose quickly. When the back
glass door wouldn't open, the officers pulled their guns and fired at least
50 rounds into it before it shattered. They each then grabbed a cable line
and climbed onto the roof, where they spent the next three hours in
130-mile-an-hour winds. "We lost every patrol car," said Nocaise. "We still
haven't found some. They're probably in the Gulf somewhere." Asked more
about the experience in the library, Nocaise choked up and walked away.
Baltimore (Md.) Sun, August 31:
In Gulfport, Mississippi, Katrina chewed up such everyday items as
furniture, computers, and a piano and spat them back onto the city's
crumbling streets and beaches. In what was once the public library, wet
books formed a mound of soggy pulp.
Biloxi (Miss.) Sun-Herald, August 29:
In Gulfport, windows were blown out and the business district was partially
underwater. The damage was described by Fire Chief Pat Sullivan as
"massive." Waves were breaking across U.S. 90 and there was water standing
in the Gulfport Library.
Biloxi (Miss.) Sun-Herald, August 30:
Beauvoir, the Jefferson Davis home in Biloxi: The bottom floor of the
Presidential Library and the home itself were gutted. A Confederate flag,
though, still draped over the arm of Davis's statue in the library.
Jackson (Miss.) Clarion-Ledger, August 31:
The University of Southern Mississippi, Alcorn State University, and Jackson
State University, as well as private Tougaloo College, remained without
power and communication access on Tuesday afternoon. On Tuesday at JSU,
students slept on makeshift beds in the student union and library, where
generators could provide light.
"I would say 90 percent of the structures between the beach and the railroad
in Biloxi, Gulfport, Long Beach, and Pass Christian are totally destroyed,"
Gov. Haley Barbour said Tuesday. "They're not severely damaged, they're
simply not there. . . . I can only imagine that this is what Hiroshima
looked like 60 years ago."
Cincinnati (Ohio) Post, August 31:
Kentucky Gov. Ernie Fletcher declared a state of emergency Tuesday afternoon
because of the heavy Katrina-related rains. The order triggered
implementation of the Kentucky Emergency Management Plan, which coordinates
response and relief activities in response to the emergency. The heavy rain
exacerbated leaks at the three-year-old Boone County Justice Center in
Burlington, Kentucky. "I've never seen anything like it," said Union,
Kentucky, attorney Edwin Kagin. There was a leak in the fourth floor men's
bathroom, which deputy sheriffs closed down, he said, and a leak in the law
library. "I couldn't believe it. I was in the law library and I hear this
plunk, and there's a bucket catching water," he said.
Tyler (Tex.) Morning Telegraph, August 31:
Tyler Public Library sent its bookmobile to the hurricane shelter Tuesday
afternoon. It provided books, magazines, and other reading material to
evacuees from Louisiana.
Evacuees from New Orleans are also being sent to the Houston area. The
Harris County Public Library in Humble, Texas, north of Houston, has
announced that evacuees are being given full residential privileges by the
Water Damage FAQ:
The ALA Library has a fact sheet with some links to sites on the proper
steps to take in cleaning up a library after a disaster.
Posted August 31, 2005.