Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Master Plan

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.


Mark said...

This may sound vain or self-serving, but I want to find a way to preserve the content of the New Orleans bloggers from 8-29 on, for at least two years. I thin, this would be a worth thing for the library to participate in. I truly believe that people will look back at what as written in 2005 or 2006 100 years from now the way scholars read the letters of Civil War soldiers, as a personal account of momentous events.

Who would I talk to about such a project?

jeffrey said...

Not me. Leave me waaaayyyy outta that.

K2.0 said...

LOL, Jeff.

Mark, you would want to talk to Irene Wainwright, head of the Louisiana Division of the Main Library. Or you might want to talk to Mark Cave at the Historic New Orleans Collection -- he is an archivist who is creating an oral history file of Katrina first responders right now.

Be advised, however, that either of them would probably expect you to do the bulk of the work, and would then graciously accept the finished result for their collection. :) That's the way these things go.

If you're serious, you could look into getting a grant to create a digital library, which would involve buying a web server for storage, Internet access fees, a budget for continual upkeep -- it's a big deal.

I will crosspost this into your/my comments. Email me if you'd like to talk about it more.