The New Orleans Public Library was hit hard by Katrina and the flooding that followed. Every library was damaged; eight of twelve branches were completely ruined by wind, water, and mold. Revenue loss forced layoffs of 80% of the staff. Total damage may be as much as $30 million.
Like many cities, the City of New Orleans is “self-insured,” but the Katrina calamity left the City with insufficient revenue to fund rebuilding. In time FEMA will reimburse the City for up to 90% of the cost to repair its libraries and purchase new books, discs, and equipment.
The FEMA process could take years, however, drastically limiting New Orleans families’ access to books, discs, computers, and the Internet -- holding back children’s education, confounding adults’ efforts to rebuild their lives, and preventing everyone from gaining the solace that books provide
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