Tulane Libraries Recovery Center Marks One Year Anniversary

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With 47,000 items processed and delivered to Howard-Tilton Memorial Library, the Recovery Center staff begins work on 77,000 government documents ready for sorting and cataloging.

Library Associates Companies and Tulane University Libraries are pleased to report the completion of several major milestones by the Tulane Libraries Recovery Center, established one year ago in response to the devastation of library materials by Hurricane Katrina. Now operating with a staff of 22 segmented into four teams, the Recovery Center has excelled in its ability to process and catalog materials quickly and accurately, and return these materials to the Tulane University community. More than 30,000 restored items and 17,000 donated items have been processed and delivered to Howard-Tilton Memorial Library since the opening of the Recovery Center in February 2008.

More than 700,000 of the library's print volumes, archival folders, and recordings were under water for about three weeks after Katrina, as were some 1.5 million individual pieces of microform such as microfilm reels or microfiche cards. Some 200,000 print volumes and approximately 20,000 reels of microfilm were salvaged and restored. That restoration process was handled by the disaster mitigation firm BELFOR at a technical facility in Ft. Worth, TX.

A majority of the restored items processed by the Recovery Center so far belong to the library's music collection. Recovery Center staff focused on having all of these items reinstated into Howard-Tilton Memorial Library prior to the start of fall semester, and succeeded. Leonard Bertrand, the library's Interim Head of the Music and Media reports that student and faculty were delighted to see the shelves looking full at the start of the Fall 2008 semester. "Having the music collection back in place was a great way to greet our returning students and professors last fall," Bertrand said.

In mid-December, the Recovery Center Archives Team returned four historical Spanish language newspapers to the Library's Louisiana Collection. These titles, El Misisipi, Avispa de Neuva Orleans, El Telegrafo, and El Moro de Paz were featured by Tulane's Latin American Library at a recent symposium, Crescent City Connections: 200 Years of the Spanish-Language Press in the United States. The symposium also celebrated the bicentennial of El Misisipi, the first Spanish-language newspaper in the United States. The Recovery Center has processed 288 historical newspaper titles for a total of 4,575 bound and loose issues, and the initial work on this part of the recovery effort is expected to be completed by March 2009.

The Archives Team has also completed inventorying and processing three major manuscript collections: Angela Gregory Papers, Canal Bank Records, and Louisiana Civil Service League Records, totaling nearly 16,000 items. The Angela Gregory Papers are an especially notable collection, highly valued by the Tulane community. Gregory, a local sculptor, donated her papers to the Tulane Manuscripts Department which include information on New Orleans cuisine, correspondence with famous writers and artists, and her own family's papers.

"The first year of the Recovery Center has been an enormous success in proving not only that its work can be accomplished, but that it can be done efficiently and on schedule," said Andy Corrigan, the library's Associate Dean who oversees its collections and the recovery efforts. "As more materials are returned to the shelves we get a little bit further along in our overall recovery and rebuilding effort with the goal of producing stronger, larger, and more accessible Tulane library collections for the future. We have a lot of work still ahead of us, but through the Recovery Center we have clearly already accomplished a great deal." It is estimated that over the next two years the Recovery Center will handle hundreds of thousands of items from restoration, donations, and initial replacement purchases for the library.

About Library Associates
Library Associates Companies (LAC) provides recruiting, consulting and project management within the rapidly-evolving information industry. With over 200 employees, more than 55% of whom are information professionals, LAC provides a full range of services to a client base that ranges from billion-dollar government agencies to global law firms, from leaders in the technology and automotive industries to public, academic and special libraries.

About Howard-Tilton Memorial Library
Howard-Tilton Memorial Library is Tulane University's main library and supports the university's undergraduate and graduate programs in the humanities, social sciences, and science and engineering. It is also a major cultural resource for researchers and scholars from throughout the Louisiana-Gulf Coast region. Its unique collections in areas such as Latin American studies, jazz, and New Orleans history often draw researchers from around the globe. The library houses more than 3 million print volumes and it invests more than $2.1 million a year in its digital collections of resources such as full text databases and online journals. It also collects government documents, microforms, and a variety of non-print media such as sound or video recordings. Its general collections are housed in the Howard-Tilton Memorial Library building on Tulane's uptown campus and at a new off site storage facility just a few miles away. The Howard-Tilton building also houses the Latin American Library, which is among the world's principal collections for Latin American studies. Other Special Collections include the Hogan Jazz Archive, Manuscripts, Rare Books, University Archives, and the Southeastern Architectural Archive. These are located in Jones Hall across from the Howard-Tilton building. Special Collections also includes the Architecture Library located on the 2nd floor of Richardson Memorial Hall. Tulane's libraries are ranked among the top 120 research libraries in North America.

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