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The Terrebonne Parish Library has seen some tough times the past few years. Katrina, Rita, Gustav, and Ike have all been unwelcome visitors to the community the library serves, and each year, Terrebonne comes back, a bit shaken, but strong.

We were so delighted to hear from Lauren Ledet once again, proof that her community and her library can overcome, can unite, and can persevere again and again. I’ve said it many times before: Welcome back, Terrebonne, we’re glad you’re safe.

Here’s Lauren’s report:

Hi friends,

After the last two weeks, Terrebonne has finally gotten back on its feet and is ready to (partially-fully) participate in the September Project.

Much like the 2005 hurricane season featuring Katrina and Rita, Terrebonne Parish witnessed back-to-back hurricane’s that nearly devastated the parish. First, Gustav made a direct hit on our parish with the eye making landfall on our coast and basically traveling up the entire parish. Our damages were thankfully minor (trees, power lines, roofs, and the worst: no electricity for nearly two weeks).

Then, we dodged Ike’s direct hit, but were inundated by his storm surge. Over half our parish was underwater due to the storm surge caused by Ike. In some homes, the water level reached over five feet. Luckily, no libraries were directly affected by the storm surge. For Gustav, however, we did see windows blown out and roof damage to branches, and that eventually resulted in mold growth. That’s being dealt with currently. Of our nine branches, four are back up and running, one being our book mobile!

So, because of our shortage of branches and our reopening to the public only this week, we are really having a condensed version of the program this year. On September 28 the community band will play a patriotic concert at the Main Library. Other than that, we will have a display of photographs of the USS New York, built of scrap metal from the World Trade Center that was melted down in a foundry in Amite, Louisiana, about 100 miles from Houma. We had many things scheduled here (a voter registration drive, broadcasts of presidential debates, and library card sign ups with a diplomatic twist), but I think, for now, we’ll make do with our safety, our lives, and our libraries!

Thanks,

Lauren

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Back in 2005, the Terrebonne Parish Library System, located 60 miles southwest of New Orleans, participated in the September Project. That was before Katrina, before Rita, and before a substantial part of the parish and one of the Terrebonne libraries was destroyed.

Now in 2007, we’re encouraged by the news (and delighted to announce!) that the Terrebonne Parish Library System will once again participate in the project–and they’re participating in a dramatic and spectacular way! So far, the library is offering public lectures, artistic displays, voter registration, book discussions, and a music concert. Here’s more information about their exciting events, scheduled throughout September AND October!

This year, the Terrebonne Parish Library System will provide its patronage with informative lectures, voter registration days, and creative outlets, celebrating patriotism and civic duty. Scheduled for this September are lectures from the New Orleans Archdiocese Catholic Charities Immigration Accreditation Representative, voter registration booths in the library throughout the month, and a patriotic themed art exhibit sponsored by the Houma Regional Arts Council. The month of September also ushers in the RELIC program (Readings in Literature and Culture) at the library. This year’s theme is “Being American” and focuses on immigration in American history. The Friends of the Terrebonne Public Library’s annual book sale is held in September and this year will feature a collection of American and patriotism-oriented literature.

The Houma Regional Arts Council will launch the Big Read program in celebration of Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. The Big Read in Terrebonne Parish is presented in partnership with the Terrebonne Parish Library System. The Big Read is an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), designed to restore reading to the center of American culture. The NEA presents the Big Read in partnership with the Institute of Museum and Library Services in cooperation with ArtsMidwest. The Big Read brings together partners across the country to encourage reading for pleasure and enlightenment. Terrebonne Parish will celebrate To Kill a Mockingbird from September 1st through December with movie screenings and book discussions; visit www.neabigread.org for more information about activities and a full calendar of events.

To Kill a Mockingbird has two broad themes: tolerance and justice. Within these two broad themes there are sub-themes of religious & racial tolerance, prejudices, personal integrity, and defiance of social norms, among others.
We invite artists to focus their artwork on the themes of To Kill a Mockingbird in relation to the September Project’s theme of “Being American”.

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