While preparing for the Blogathon, I got some really great letters from people around the country about what their library means to them. The first I'll share comes from Barbara Trevigne of New Orleans.
I live in New Orleans, Louisiana. As Cultural Historian, much of my research is done at the New Orleans Public Library on Loyola Avenue. I have used the services of this facility for the past thirty years, locating death records, birth records, wills, succession, Court of Probate records, emancipation records, records of the mayor, Spanish and French colonial records, census records, newspapers from the seventeenth century, and so much more.
When Katrina struck, so many of us wondered if our "ancestors paper trail" was lost. Irene Wainwright and Wayne Everard, our two archivists drove from their safe place to New Orleans to determine the extent of damage. They braved unspeakable traveling conditions to get to New Orleans, and endured the horrors, the smells, and sights they witnessed. They did all this because THEY CARED.
The Louisiana Collection located on the third floor of the library has scholars, and people from all parts of life researching the history of the Colonial people who made New Orleans the great city she is. Aside from those librarian as Tito, Colin Hamner, Pat and Rodney who are no longer employed at the library, we have Steven and Maya. Gregory Osborn is still with us, and is an exceptional scholar and researcher who is versed on the Creole culture. Needless to say, he is especially held in high academic and social esteem.
Valencia Hawkins and her staff on the second floor of the library are ever in tune with the needs of the community and patrons. Valencia and her staff work very hard to deliver programming to attact the young and the senior resident.
I remember the first day the library opened after Katrina. There was a rush to enter and people were lined at the door. There were no need to speak words of thanks, we could tell in each other's eyes, the smile on each other faces, the firm hugs we received, that we were all where we needed to be.
It is with great pride I write on behalf of these people who receive very little job compensation, but loads of kudos from the patrons.
Barbara, thank you so much for writing.