Last night I went to the Bloggers Bash/Reception for Gulf Coast librarians hosted by Leslie Burger. Over the past year, blogger gatherings have been among the most vibrant and memorable (and fun) parts of conferences. Blogger gatherings are where you get to meet your imaginary friends, talk shop with people who speak your language, eat and drink courtesy of people with more money than you have, and get stars in your eyes when one of the people you most admire recognizes the name of your blog
Last night had all of those features, but it had something else, too, and that something else, of course, was the librarians from the Gulf Coast. They were there, from New Orleans, from Louisiana bayou, from Mississippi. We heard some of their stories of loss and of renewal. We heard about what they need (money) and what they don’t (1980s encyclopedias, old books). We saw them, face to face.
On Friday, thanks to the great generosity of Beth Oliver, a librarian at Delgado Community College, Heidi Dolamore and I had the opportunity to see face to face some areas of New Orleans and Slidell that were hit by hurricane and flood. I haven’t begun to digest the experience yet, but you can see some pictures (more captions to come) on Flickr under the tag damage. I had a hard time deciding how to tag the photos of the effects of the hurricane: I need a word that describes both damage and the possibility of renewal, a word that shows an embroynic phoenix, rising from the ashes.