The September Project Blog

Come here to learn about the goings-on of The September Project, a grassroots effort to foster public events in all communities on September 11.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

libraries as outposts for hope

amidst all of the tragedy, it is comforting to know that public places still exist to help people with whatever it is they need, whether a good book, internet access, emergency aid, or a friendly face in times of tragedy. the following is an excerpt of a post from a librarian in louisiana that reminds us of the importance of libraries in our communities, and the extent to which librarians serve everyone who walks through library doors. librarians are gems.

The restrooms are popular and we ask only that they tell us when the toilet paper runs low – there is no graffiti worry with this bunch. We ask that they try to get things done in half-hour segments because there’s always a waiting line for one of our eight public access computers. (Thank you Bill Gates and the [Louisiana] State Library technology Aid). And we rap on wood that those eight stay healthy and ready. Our printer cartridge is growing dim, and the new cartridges we ordered are somewhere in transit: we hope not from the New Orleans direction. Tomorrow we need them!

People are filing for FEMA online – that must be one terrific computer system as no one has been frozen out because of overload. We have the only fax machine in town and its fax tone rings constantly…long distance numbers are not answering yet. New Orleans has no communication systems up at all, and Baton Rouge has lost much power and people aren’t in any offices to answer phones or faxes. FEMA literature is printed and copied and piled on the desk, along with Louisiana Unemployment procedures. The list of sheltering facilities and our own (extended) hours, and location is there, too, along with the top three or four sites for information. We are staying open on Sunday and Monday (Labor Day) six hours each as we have the only Internet access available to the general public.

People just sit and talk with each other, and with us, and greet us like old acquaintances when they come back. Two ladies cried today when they left and said they just couldn’t believe what a nice place “we” are. So many people think they have to pay to use the computers and are so happy when they find they don’t have to. People are buying clothing at the Dollar store and at “Fred’s” (local old style 5 & Dime except nothing is five and dime anymore) and the two food stores here are depleted of everything you need to live in a motel room with a microwave or refrigerator. Or without them. Bread just doesn’t stick around. Gas hasn’t spiked up yet, but it will be in high demand as there are many, many more vehicles here now. I filled up for the first time in weeks. I don’t plan to roam far.


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