Sunday, September 04, 2005

Official Statement Concerning Disaster Recovery Efforts

September 2, 2005

OXFORD, Ohio – Librarians, archivists, conservation experts, and IT professionals are beginning to mobilize in an effort to volunteer time, materials, and skills to help some of the world's greatest libraries, museums, and special collections rebuild and restore collections in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Geaux Library Recovery is a network of information professionals dedicated to assisting with library and archive recovery and clean-up and to help information professionals and their families recover from the most catastrophic natural disaster in American history.

“Restoring and guaranteeing the safety and well-being of all people in the affected areas should be the Number One priority of all American relief efforts,” Jason Jackson, a visiting librarian at Miami (OH) University and Geaux Team Member, said. “Once the proper disaster recovery agencies have made the situation stable enough for recovery of some of the nation's most valuable treasures and important libraries to commence, Geaux Library Recovery volunteers will be ready.”

The Gulf region of the United States is home to some of the world's oldest and most important historical collections, including the Greater New Orleans Collection, The William Ransom Hogan Archive of New Orleans Jazz, the Archive of New Orleans, and the New Orleans Museum of Art. Additionally, the region is served by numerous public libraries and historical societies, many of which were underfunded and understaffed before Hurricane Katrina.

“We're calling on all institutions, large and small, to coordinate local recovery support efforts, to conduct community outreach and educational responses, as well as to provide as much support of local disaster charity organizations as humanly possible. We want to send a message to the world – that we will not let the Gulf region's information centers, their collections, or their staff and patrons, down.” Jackson added “It is the ethical and moral responsibility of archivists, conservation and preservation experts, librarians, Information Technologies professionals, and historians to make sure our friends and colleagues have the support they need, when they need it most.”

The Geaux Library Recovery effort is working towards developing strategic partnerships with other professional organizations, including the American Library Association, the Louisiana Library Association, the Northeast Document Conservation Center, SOLINET, the Society of Southwestern Archivists, the Society of American Archivists, the National Park Service, and various other agencies to help meet possible supply and volunteer labor needs. Volunteers will be ready and waiting to offer any support to these organizations in their efforts to help the Deep South recover from Katrina's aftermath.

Geaux Library Recovery is actively soliciting only trained professionals in the area of collection disaster recovery, all aspects of librarianship, systems support, historic preservation, repository construction and renovation, archival management and administration, and conservation of historical sites, collections, and properties.

Financial contributions should be directed to the American Red Cross: We cannot accept financial contributions at this time.

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