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Disaster: response and recovery at a major research library in New Orleans

Andy Corrigan (Howard‐Tilton Memorial Library, Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA)

Library Management

ISSN: 0143-5124

Article publication date: 30 May 2008

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to describe the experience of the largest among many academic libraries in New Orleans severely impacted by Hurricane Katrina. In this case, at Tulane University, a remarkable early effort was undertaken to save collections and stabilize flooded library buildings. Other daunting challenges followed.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper reports observations on critical aspects of the library's recovery, which was still ongoing at the time of this writing more than two years after the hurricane.

Findings

The paper draws preliminary conclusions about disaster planning and response to actual disasters.

Originality/value

The event covered maybe unprecedented in many ways even apart from its scale, since its location was a major city that was almost entirely evacuated apart from military personnel. Effective disaster response is a context sensitive and complex undertaking. In this case special problems arose initially in just responding to the scene and later in ways connected to the staggering scope of the damage to the region surrounding. Nonetheless, tapping the expertise and resources of a skilled disaster mitigation company, Tulane and its library were able to stage a broad recovery effort.

Keywords

Citation

Corrigan, A. (2008), "Disaster: response and recovery at a major research library in New Orleans", Library Management, Vol. 29 No. 4/5, pp. 293-306. https://doi.org/10.1108/01435120810869084

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited