October 6, 2005 Library of Congress Uses Its Resources on Behalf of Hurricane Katrina Victims

Press Contact: Donna Urschel (202) 707-1639

The Library of Congress has initiated efforts to help in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina through book donations, programs on the preservation and recovery of materials, staff fundraising events, collaboration with Louisiana scholars, and an oral history project for hurricane survivors.

Book Donations

  • The Library of Congress has joined with First Book to place millions of books into the hands of children and families displaced by Hurricane Katrina. The Book Relief project was represented in the Pavilion of States at the National Book Festival on the National Mall on Saturday, Sept. 24. The project allowed festivalgoers to donate to this effort.
  • In addition, the Library is sending books directly to shelters and to schools that are serving people displaced by the disaster.

Preservation and Recovery

  • The Library’s Office of Preservation has placed information on its Web site at
  • www.loc.gov/preserv/ for libraries, archives, museums and the general public about recovering water-damaged materials.
  • The Library has developed a list of all libraries affected by the hurricane. The Library is using this information to develop an assistance action plan that will help these libraries recover, addressing short-, middle- and long-term needs of these institutions.
  • The Library is determining which recovery and preservation materials it has on hand that can be donated to libraries in need of such supplies.
  • The Library is devoting staff time for expert employees to help in the hurricane relief efforts, either by consultation or on-site assistance.
  • The Library has prepared a training course in disaster recovery and preservation techniques for librarians in the affected regions, which includes training in recovery of water-damaged materials and flash-freezing techniques.
  • The Library has formed a preservation and conservation network of libraries that will be asked to offer staff time and cash donations for the relief effort.

Combined Federal Campaign

  • During its fall Combined Federal Campaign (CFC), the Library is featuring hurricane relief charities and organizations in a special campaign to raise money for Hurricane Katrina victims. Several events will take place during the campaign that will highlight the needs of the people affected by the hurricane and will allow relief organizations to speak directly to Library staff.
  • On Oct. 9, the Library is hosting a CFC agency fair in Madison Hall, which will specifically highlight agencies and charities working directly on hurricane relief.
  • Library staff will be holding various fundraising events in October and November, and all proceeds from these events will go to CFC hurricane relief charities and organizations.

Louisiana Scholars

  • William Craft Brumfield, professor of Slavic studies at Tulane University in New Orleans and an expert on Russian architecture, will continue his research work as a scholar in the Library’s John W. Kluge Center for several months while Tulane remains closed.
  • Wanting to provide an outlet for expression to poets displaced by the hurricane, the Office of Scholarly Programs has invited Brenda Marie Osbey to read from her works at 6:45 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 3, in the Montpelier Room of the James Madison Building. Osbey is the poet laureate of Louisiana and a faculty member of Dillard University in New Orleans. While Dillard remains closed, Osbey is serving as an assistant professor in English at Louisiana State University.

Oral History Project for Hurricane Survivors

  • The American Folklife Center of the Library of Congress is working with folklorists at the University of Houston and in Austin, Texas, to create an oralhistory project that will put academic survivors of the hurricane to work collecting survivor stories in Texas. The Library is training historians and other academics in conducting oral histories, and will donate tape recording equipment for this project. In addition, the Library will assist in the development of a database and recording archive so that this collection of oral histories will be usable by historians, journalists and other researchers. The American Folklife Center is also working with folklorists in Baton Rouge and Shreveport on a similar project for hurricane survivors in those areas.
  • Once the New Orleans City Archives is restored, the Folklife Center has agreed to conduct a similar partnership project in New Orleans and will create a portal database that will house the oral histories collected in all three areas (Texas, central/north Louisiana and New
  • Orleans).


  • The Library is partnering with the Internet Archive and the California Digital Library to create a web archive documenting communications, reactions and commentary on the unprecedented natural disaster of Hurricane Katrina and its effects on our nation, her citizens and the larger world community.


PR 05-213
ISSN 0731-3527