University of Rochester

Mardi Gras Fun Benefits Katrina-Flooded Library in New Orleans

February 17, 2006

A week of activities to help Southern University of New Orleans begin to replace books and materials lost to Hurricane Katrina starts Monday, Feb. 20, on the University of Rochester's River Campus.

Rush Rhees librarians and staff designed the events after they joined the American Library Association's Adopt-a-Library Program to help the relief effort.

"All over the country, librarians are contributing to help rebuild these critical collections in Louisiana and Mississippi," said Vicki Burns, director of reference at Rush Rhees Library and committee chair. With Southern University's history as a traditionally black college, the committee decided to open the series of events during Black History Month. Lectures, music, and book-selling will be held throughout Rush Rhees Library.

Fundraising kicks off Monday and Tuesday, Feb. 20 and 21, with two days of a $1 book sale from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Hawkins-Carlson Room.

Other JambaLibrary! events are:

  • Noon Feb. 22: Randall Curren, professor of philosophy and of education, will speak on "Abandoned in a Wasteland: Katrina, Anarchy, and America's Poor" in the Welles-Brown Room.

  • Noon Feb. 23: Paul Burgett, University vice president and general secretary and adjunct professor of music, will lecture on "Music in New Orleans: Then and Now" in the Welles-Brown Room.

Friday will be filled with jazz, starting with a jazz talk, "Hey Now!: Musical Maestros Professor Longhair & Clifton Chenier," by Dan Beaumont, associate professor of religion and classics, from noon to 1 p.m. in the Welles-Brown Room.

At 5 p.m., the River Campus Jazz Ensemble and a jazz group of Eastman School of Music faculty, Bob Sneider, Jeff Campbell, Rich Thompson, and Clay Jenkins, will set up in the Hawkins-Carlson Room and play until 7 p.m.

Donations will be accepted at all events, and raffle tickets can be purchased for the dozens of prize drawings Friday evening.

Other colleges and universities aiding Southern are Earlham College, Lehigh University, University of Missouri-Columbia, Swarthmore College, Tufts University, and University of Pittsburgh.

Each institution can decide on its own approach to assisting Southern. The money raised at Rush Rhees events will be sent to a book vendor, who will take orders from librarians at Southern when they are ready to restock their shelves.

"We are energized and excited by this project because it will have lasting benefits for people in New Orleans," said Burns.