Booking the Future

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Much has been written in the media about the New Orleans Public School system starting their master planning process. Well, they’re not the only ones planning for the future, or trying to make a positive impact on public education. Starting tonight, the New Orleans Public Library asks that the public (this means you) join them in putting together a master plan for the future of public libraries in New Orleans.Just like the public school system was severely damaged by the levee failures, the New Orleans Public Library (NOPL) suffered a number of losses. Prior to the storm, there were 13 NOPL locations and approximately 200 employees providing library services throughout the city (I know this because I was one of those employees).

Following the storm, NOPL was down to five functioning libraries and 90 percent of the staff was laid off (Yep, I was part of that group as well). Since then, the library system has rebounded and has reopened several branches — the Alvar Library was remodeled with aid of the American Library Association and other groups; and the Martin Luther King Jr. Library, located in the Lower Ninth Ward and part of the Martin Luther King Jr. Charter School for Science and Technology, has become a symbol of the Ninth Ward’s renewal — with several temporary library locations offering services as well.New library director, Donna Schremser, and the NOPL board, led by favorite son Irvin Mayfield, are now preparing to tackle the future by formulating a master plan for the library system. That process gets kicked off tonight, 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the JW Marriott Hotel (614 Canal Street) in the Ile de France Room on the third floor. Schremser and Mayfield will give an overview of the planning process, the projected timetable and will invite public comments.In case you can’t make it, there is a public survey, so you can make your voice heard.

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