Gulf Coast Libraries Participate in Summit on Rebuilding
Filed: 11/17/06 GCN
ATLANTA (November 17, 2006) –Librarians and
community leaders from Gulf Coast counties and parishes
that lost library buildings will meet in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on
November 28-30, to explore opportunities and share ideas for rebuilding.
Building Libraries, Building
Community: A Summit on the Role of Public Libraries in Re-Creating
Community on the Gulf Coast is hosted by the Southeastern
Library Network (SOLINET) in partnership with the Mississippi Library
Commission and the State Library of Louisiana.
(Photo right: Harrison County main library in
Gulfport - GCN)
Thirty-one public libraries were destroyed
by the hurricanes. Many more remain closed or are operating with severe
This summit begins a three-part rebuilding program for these public
libraries. Following the Summit, libraries in these counties and parishes
will be eligible for grants to assist in planning for new buildings. The
Summit and planning grants are part of SOLINET’s Gulf Coast Libraries
Project, a three-year initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates
Foundation to support public libraries damaged by hurricanes in Louisiana
and Mississippi. In addition to support for planning new buildings, the
Gulf Coast Libraries Project will provide temporary libraries and
book/tech mobiles, technology, materials, and staffing in communities that
“Restoring library services and facilities is essential to the recovery of
Hancock County,” states Prima Plauche’ of the Hancock County Library
System in Mississippi.
Her statement is echoed in other counties and parishes. “Libraries add
greatly to the quality of life and stability of the communities,”
commented Cyndi Sellers, Library Board President in Cameron Parish,
“The purpose of the Summit is to provide a
framework and context for planning library buildings and services in
recovering Gulf Coast communities, recognizing that these libraries are
assets to their communities and critical resources for positive,
sustainable community growth,” according to Kate Nevins, Executive
Director of SOLINET.
Community leaders and librarians in
Louisiana will attend from Calcasieu Parish, Cameron Parish, Jefferson
Parish, New Orleans, Plaquemines Parish, St. Bernard Parish, St. Tammany
Parish, Terrebonne Parish, Vermillon Parish, and Washington Parish.
Participants from Mississippi will represent Hancock County, Harrison
County, Jackson-George Regional Library System, and Long Beach Municipal
Reports and recorded sessions from
Building Libraries, Building Community
will be available at SOLINET’s Gulf Coast Libraries Recovery website in
The Southeastern Library Network, Inc. (SOLINET) is an Atlanta-based
not-for-profit library cooperative serving the Southeastern United States
(Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North
Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia) and the Caribbean. A
membership network of libraries and other information organizations,
SOLINET works in collaboration with many partners, from local to
international, to provide leadership for cooperative action, improve
access to information, and enable members to effectively anticipate and
address the region’s needs for education, economic development, and
improved quality of life.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda
Gates Foundation works to reduce inequities and improve lives around the
world. In developing countries, it focuses on improving health, reducing
extreme poverty, and increasing access to technology in public libraries.
In the United States, the foundation seeks to ensure that all people have
access to a great education and to technology in public libraries. In its
local region, it focuses on improving the lives of low-income families.
Based in Seattle, the foundation is led by CEO Patty
Stonesifer and Co-chairs William H. Gates Sr., Bill Gates, and
Melinda French Gates. More information is available at