Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Yesterday, Irwin Mayfield, who is the Chairman of the New Orleans Public Library Board, gave a presentation to the staff about the NOPL Master Plan, the library's long-term blueprint for recovery. Mostly he talked about "branding" the library, about NOPL core values that we can present and enact, like "preservation" and "celebration" (of New Orleans culture).
I liked his idea of the library as "information first responders" in times of crisis -- which is certainly true, as we saw during the Katrina evacuation and diaspora -- people went to the public libraries wherever they were to find information, contact FEMA, and email friends and family. And when people returned, the library was one of the first places they turned to -- for information, for diversion, for community.
But generally, I was hoping for something a little more concrete, like, "we are rebuilding this branch in 2008, that one in 2009, we have secured funding from these sources." Maybe they haven't gotten to that point in the masterplanning process.
I do think Irwin is a good ambassador for the library, as he is an internationally famous jazz musician, and he clearly takes the job seriously.
The library is holding a public forum on the Master Plan this coming Monday -- read more about it here. You can also take a survey or email the library with your suggestions.
If you have any interest in the library at all, I encourage you to take part in this process. The library is supposed to serve the community, after all. To serve, we need to know what you need.