By managing and staffing the Tulane Libraries Recovery Center, LAC Group played a small role in the post-Hurricane Katrina recovery process in New Orleans. Established in 2008, the Recovery Center served as the base for restoring books and other items from the University’s Howard-Tilton Memorial Library and Jones Hall Special Collections that were damaged or lost due to catastrophic flooding.
LAC Group set-up an entire center, providing skilled librarians and staff for the work at hand, scaling up or down as needed during the recovery’s progression.
Over the course of the project, they handled over one million items:
- General collections were reinstated in the catalog and shelved in temporary locations on campus or off-site while the Howard-Tilton Memorial Library has been undergoing post-Katrina construction. Two additional floors are being added at the top of the building to replace lost space and mitigate any future storm damage. Construction is expected to be complete in October.
- Archival materials were sorted, inventoried, merged, re-boxed and shelved off-site.
- Donated and purchased acquisitions were delivered to the Recovery Center for cataloging and integration back into Tulane Libraries.
- Historical government documents that had been restored were cataloged and processed.
While LAC Group played a pivotal role during the process, the project involved a number of phases that relied on other specialized services. Salvageable, water-damaged materials were sent to Texas for recovery by BELFOR Property Restoration. Books that needed re-binding were shipped to HF Group in Indiana for the company’s library binding expertise. All restored and replaced materials were returned to the Recovery Center for physical processing by LAC Group staff.
According to Project Manager Del Hamilton,
We assisted Tulane with everything from unpacking and sorting to cataloging and processing. We even moved the materials to the library and re-shelved them. It was an unprecedented activity that was born on the back of a disaster of epic proportions. Throughout the process, LAC Group worked closely with the Tulane University Library staff to ensure that every task was designed to accomplish the goal of rebuilding its collections, while keeping with local needs and policies.
Katrina & Beyond: The Exhibit
Striking the Gulf Coast on August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina was a Category 3 storm that resulted in over $100 billion in damage in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama and displaced hundreds of thousands of people.
An exhibit dedicated to the recovery of Tulane University’s library collections is open to the public through November 8, 2015 on the first floor of the Howard-Tilton Memorial Library, located at 7001 Freret Street in New Orleans.
In addition, a multimedia exhibit, Katrina & Beyond: The Exhibit, chronicles the “Katrina Era” at the University at large, also showing through November 8 in the Lavin-Bernick Center for University Life on Tulane’s Uptown Campus.
Those who cannot make it to New Orleans can visit the Katrina Exhibit website to view pictures, videos, survivor stories, news coverage, a timeline and more.
In need of staffing, project management and other library services? Contact us to discuss your needs for recovery and restoration or any other library/information center projects.