FSU professor announces grants to hurricane-devasted libraries

Eliza T. Dresang

It’s been said that nobody graduated from a library, but nobody graduated without one.

That’s why Florida State University College of Information Professor Eliza T. Dresang is taking part in an effort to rebuild school libraries devastated by last summer’s hurricanes. As a member of the Laura Bush Foundation for America’s Libraries advisory committee, Dresang announced the names of three school libraries in Mississippi that will receive grants to purchase books and other library materials. Dresang made the announcement and introduced U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings at a recent news conference in Biloxi, Miss. First lady Laura Bush made congratulatory remarks to the recipients.

The Mississippi announcement followed a presentation earlier in the day by a member of the foundation’s leadership committee in New Orleans where seven grants were awarded to school libraries in that area. In all, the foundation awarded 10 grants ranging from $10,000 to $75,000 for a total of $500,000 as part of the Laura Bush Foundation’s Gulf Coast School Library Recovery Initiative. The foundation will award additional grants to other schools this fall.

"Mrs. Bush was a school librarian, so this is very near and dear to her heart," Dresang said. "I was honored to be asked to accompany her to the press conference in Mississippi and make the announcement."

The libraries that are recipients of the grants lost everything in the hurricanes and are now struggling to replace as many as 15,000 books and other materials, according to Dresang. She also is on a subcommittee that is planning a workshop to help the grant recipients build their collections from scratch.