Collections Information

  • Collections Contacts

    This page provides contact information for the librarians who select resources for Howard-Tilton Memorial Library. See also the library's collection policies. General questions about the selection of resources for Howard-Tilton Memorial Library may be directed to Andy Corrigan, Associate Dean of Libraries. The librarians listed below are responsible for areas of the collections.

    For assistance with research, instruction, workshops, and other services, please see the list of Subject Librarians.

    Collections Contacts
    Collection Area Librarian Email Phone
    Anthropology Adam Beauchamp abeaucha@tulane.edu (504) 247-1785
    Architecture Keli Rylance krylance@tulane.edu (504) 247-1806
    Art Joshua Lupkin jlupkin@tulane.edu (504) 247-1825
    Asian Studies Joshua Lupkin jlupkin@tulane.edu (504) 247-1825
    Biomedical Engineering Tony Bremholm tbremhol@tulane.edu (504) 865-5609
    Cell and Molecular Biology Tony Bremholm tbremhol@tulane.edu (504) 865-5609
    Chemical Engineering Tony Bremholm tbremhol@tulane.edu (504) 865-5609
    Chemistry Tony Bremholm tbremhol@tulane.edu (504) 865-5609
    Classical Studies Rebecca Malek-Wiley malek@tulane.edu (504) 247-1812
    Communication Lisa Hooper lhooper1@tulane.edu (504) 314-7822
    Comparative Literature Joshua Lupkin jlupkin@tulane.edu (504) 247-1825
    Computer Science Tony Bremholm tbremhol@tulane.edu (504) 865-5609
    Earth and Environmental Sciences Tony Bremholm tbremhol@tulane.edu (504) 865-5609
    Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Tony Bremholm tbremhol@tulane.edu (504) 865-5609
    Economics Eric Wedig wedig@tulane.edu (504) 865-5644
    Education Jennifer Corbin jcorbin@tulane.edu (504) 314-2916
    English Joshua Lupkin jlupkin@tulane.edu (504) 247-1825
    French and Italian Joshua Lupkin jlupkin@tulane.edu (504) 247-1825
    Gender and Sexuality Studies Jennifer Corbin jcorbin@tulane.edu (504) 314-2916
    General Eric Wedig wedig@tulane.edu (504) 865-5644
    Geology Tony Bremholm tbremhol@tulane.edu (504) 865-5609
    Germanic and Slavic Studies Joshua Lupkin jlupkin@tulane.edu (504) 247-1825
    History Eric Wedig wedig@tulane.edu (504) 865-5644
    Hogan Jazz Archive Bruce Raeburn raeburn@tulane.edu (504) 865-5688
    Jewish Studies Eric Wedig wedig@tulane.edu (504) 865-5644
    Latin American Studies Hortensia Calvo hcalvo@tulane.edu (504) 314-7828
    Louisiana Research Collection (Books) Sean Benjamin sbenjam@tulane.edu (504) 865-5608
    Louisiana Research Collection (Manuscripts and Archives) Leon Miller lmiller@tulane.edu (504) 314-7833
    Mathematics Tony Bremholm tbremhol@tulane.edu (504) 865-5609
    Media Lisa Hooper lhooper1@tulane.edu (504) 314-7822
    Music Lisa Hooper lhooper1@tulane.edu (504) 314-7822
    Philosophy Sean Knowlton sean@tulane.edu (504) 314-7823
    Physics Tony Bremholm tbremhol@tulane.edu (504) 865-5609
    Political Science Eric Wedig wedig@tulane.edu (504) 865-5644
    Psychology Tony Bremholm tbremhol@tulane.edu (504) 865-5609
    Rare Books Joshua Lupkin jlupkin@tulane.edu (504) 247-1825
    Reference Jennifer Corbin jcorbin@tulane.edu (504) 314-2916
    Religion Rebecca Malek-Wiley malek@tulane.edu (504) 247-1812
    Social Work Eric Wedig wedig@tulane.edu (504) 865-5644
    Sociology Eric Wedig wedig@tulane.edu (504) 865-5644
    Southeastern Architectural Archive Keli Rylance krylance@tulane.edu (504) 247-1806
    Spanish and Portuguese Literature (Iberian Peninsula) Joshua Lupkin jlupkin@tulane.edu (504) 247-1825
    Theatre and Dance Joshua Lupkin jlupkin@tulane.edu (504) 247-1825
    University Archives Ann Case acase@tulane.edu (504) 314-7821
  • Collections Policies

    The following are collection development policies for Howard-Tilton Memorial Library at Tulane University, including those for the general collections that support Tulane's academic departments on its uptown campus.  Each subject area policy below is a detailed statement outlining selection considerations in relation to subject scope and to preferences for publication types, formats, language, geographic origin, and more.  These policies are maintained by the librarians who do the selecting, based on regular communication with faculty in their liason departments.  For more information contact Andy Corrigan, Associate Dean of Libraries.


    Interdisciplinary General Collection Areas


    Program Support

    Tulane University offers undergraduate and graduate courses through departments and programs (which are sometimes named centers). While departments have their own faculty and offer large numbers of courses on their own, the structure of programs varies widely. Most programs are interdisciplinary and cross-departmental, drawing participating faculty and their courses from a variety of departments. A few programs, however, offer relatively large numbers of courses independently.

    Therefore, to organize collection support, programs with more than four courses independently listed in the catalog will, like departments, have their own policies and funds. (Not counted toward the four will be courses such as introductory level courses, independent study courses, special topics courses, and thesis seminars.)

    Otherwise, programs are covered by the library's regular support for departments and monitored by librarians assigned to the departments most closely associated with them. 


    Special Collections Policies

    These Special Collections departments also have collection policies.

     Manuals and Guidelines

    These documents are internal guidelines used by the library to assist with its collection management.

    Collection Development ManualPreservation Policy Gifts Guidelines for the General Collections Policy on Open Access Materials

    Collections Tools

    A wealth of information and data for collections-related planning at Howard-Tilton Memorial Library is maintained in a research guide for the library's Collections Group that  includes all librarians with general collections responsibilities (including chief bibliographers and subject liaisons) as well as department and unit heads from related areas in Special Collections, the Latin American Library, Technical Services, and User Services and Library IT.  

  • General Collections Information

    Howard-Tilton Memorial Library is Tulane's main library and its general circulating collections are among the largest in the the Gulf region of the United States.  While its collection development has been tightly focused in support of Tulane's academic programs, the library's general collections have still grown to include more than 3.8 million volumes housed in the main Howard-Tilton building and an off site storage facility for older volumes—exclusive of the materials held in the library's Special Collections in Jones Hall.  Howard-Tilton spends about $4.6 million annually on digital resources. As a result, Tulane's students and faculty have access through its main library  to an vast array of published digital facsimile collections of scholarly material and to articles in about 81,000 journal titles, most of them online.  Post Katrina the library has rebuilt collections in music, media, and government documents--aiming to make its collections in these areas stronger than ever.  In fact, after losing all of its recorded materials, today the library's temporary Music & Media Center alone houses more than 38,000 audio recordings and more than 25,000 audio/visual recordings. 

    Collection Development

    The library's collections are managed by subject liaison ibrarians who work in departments throughout the library and are assigned to the academic disciplines that the collections support. Through liaison contacts with Tulane's academic departments, these librarians select books, journals, and other materials. Their work is coordinated by the library's associate dean who is assisted by three chief bibliographers: for the humanities, for science & engineering, and for social sciences & government publications. The chief bibliographers are subject liaisons themselves and carry the largest numbers of subject assignments.  The function as a working group for collection projects and provide individual librarians with guidance and mentorship in collection development.

    Comprehensive Collection Policies

    The library has formulated a comprehensive set of collection development policies that include detailed statements for each discipline supported. The framework for these policies is designed to reflect the academic department and cross-departmental academic program structure of the university.

    Book and Journal Selection

    Faculty participation in the selection process is welcomed and encouraged. Requests may be sent directly to the subject liaison librarians (bibliographers) or through department book chairs, faculty from academic departments assigned as liaisons to the library. The selection and receipt of many current books is expedited through the use of approval plans for domestic and foreign publications. These plans provide books based on a detailed, pre-determined subject profiles to ensure regular timely receipt of scholarly materials at a discount.

    Because subscriptions involve both current and future funds, all journal requests are scrutinized with extra care and online access to new and existing subscriptions is sought routinely.

    Collection Development requires sound collection management practices, which may occasionally involve the de-selection of physical items such as ones that are no longer used and in poor condition.  In these instances, the librarians follow a set of guidelines for withdrawing materials from the collections.

    Standards and Ethical Principles

    • Standards: The Howard-Tilton Memorial Library maintains its collections in accordance with the standards and membership criteria of the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) and the Association of Southeastern Research Libraries (ASERL). The library's collections must also meet criteria defined by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and numerous other accrediting agencies to which the university's degree granting programs are subject.
    • Intellectual Freedom and Censorship: The library recognizes that free access to ideas and freedom of expression are fundamental to the educational process. Consequently, the library purchases materials that represent a wide variety of viewpoints and the library subscribes to and complies with the American Library Association (ALA) Library Bill of Rights. The library does not add or withdraw, at the request of any individual or group, material which has been chosen or excluded on the basis of stated selection criteria. An individual or group questioning the appropriateness of material within the collection will be referred to the Library Dean.
    • Confidentiality: The ALA Code of Ethics states that "Librarians must protect each user's right to privacy with respect to information sought, received, and materials consulted, borrowed, or acquired." In addition, the library adheres to the ALA Policy on Confidentiality of Library Records and Confidentiality of Library Users.
    • Copyright: The library complies with the provisions of the U.S. Copyright Law (17 U.S.C.) and its amendments. The library strongly supports the "Fair Use" section of the Copyright Law (17 U.S.C. 107) which permits and protects the rights to reproduce and make other uses of copyrighted works for the purposes of teaching, scholarship, and research.

    Gifts

    The library welcomes contributions and selected gifts of books and other materials that will enhance the strength of its collections. Of interest are scholarly or rare items with research value that are in good physical condition. More information about making a contribution or donating materials to the Library can be found on our gifts web page.

    July 2014

    Howard-Tilton Memorial Library is Tulane's main library and its general circulating collections are among the largest in the the Gulf region of the United States.
  • General Selection Guidelines

    The collections of the Howard-Tilton Memorial Library support the educational and research programs of Tulane University. Librarians employ the following general criteria when evaluating titles to be added or removed from the collections and when tailoring profiles for approval plans. Particular criteria assume greater or lesser importance depending on the material under consideration, the resources available, the acquisitions commitment level, and the subject matter covered.


    Relevance to the Present or Pending Needs of Tulane’s Academic and Research Programs

    Librarians who select materials maintain close ties with the departments, centers, and research programs that comprise the primary user group for a particular subject or area. Additionally, the librarians seek information about the degree programs and curriculum for their areas and about faculty research activities or grants received. This information permits librarians to anticipate and provide for the current and changing needs of Tulane University’s students and faculty and it informs the development of collection policies.

    Scope

    Scope refers to collection emphasis based primarily on the curricular emphasis of a department and secondarily on faculty research or broader use to the Tulane community. Preference is given to titles whose coverage is of sufficient breadth to be of use and interest to an entire department, while those of interest to a small number of individuals are collected selectively.

    Chronological Period

    Many disciplines, particularly in the sciences, require up-to-date information. In those areas, preference is given to titles which report new and revised information in a timely fashion. In History preference is given to specific historical periods. In other areas there may be a variety of demands. Preference for emphasis on chronological period varies and is described separately in the collection policy statement for each subject area.

    Imprint Date

    Preference for currency of imprint date (date of publication) and demand for out of print materials varies and is described separately in the collection policy statement for each subject area. Materials that are out of print can require additional costs or steps in ordering.

    Type

    Types of materials selected may generally include monographs (books), monographic series, serials, reference works, popular works, conference proceedings, dissertations, manuscripts, course materials (such as textbooks), maps, media (including software or visual items), and recordings. Preference for emphasis on material type varies and is described separately in the collection policy statement for each subject area.

    Format

    The library selects materials in the formats available that best meet the research needs of students and faculty while balancing considerations of format sustainability.  These formats generally include printed text; digital files that may be online or on CDs; microform; maps, globes; sound and video recordings. Most indexes and abstracts are obtained in digital form online to be widely available outside the library building. Journals are obtained online when available. Online access is preferred over CD-ROM formats. Print is the standard format for monographs, although the Library will consider digital formats as they become available. DVD in NTCS region 1 coding is preferred over VHS tapes; DVDs in PAL or encoded for different regions will be considered as appropriate.

    For additional specific criteria for selection of digital resources see the Library's guidelines for selecting digital library resources.

    Format Support: The Library does not purchase materials for the general collection in outdated or other formats not supported by equipment to make them readily accessible to users. Examples of outdated formats include filmstrips, floppy diskettes, and eight-track cassette tapes. Preference for emphasis on format may vary and is described separately in the collection policy statement for each subject area.

    Language and Geographic Consideration

    The language of the primary and secondary users is considered as is the geographic origin of a work. Language emphasis and geographic consideration varies and preference for each is described separately in the collection policy statement for each subject area.


    Bibliographic Accessibility

    The contents of periodicals, particularly, require bibliographic indexing and abstracting tools to insure sufficient user access. Inclusion or exclusion from the major index in a discipline is one of tools employed by librarians when evaluating the subscription to a magazine or journal.

    Depth of the Existing Collection in Local Availability of the Item

    When considering the purchase of a new title, a librarian must also consider the strengths and weaknesses of the existing collection in which the new title will be located. Redundancy is avoided, but duplicates may be purchased where high use is expected. Availability of expensive or tangential titles through censorial arrangements--such as that with the Center for Research Libraries--is also considered and an access instead of ownership option may be considered.Collection policy statements for each subject area address the following:
    • Affiliated Resources within the Howard-Tilton Memorial Library: These include other related subject areas covered within the library including its department or special collections. Also identified are multi-disciplinary online resources such as bibliographic, article, or reference databases.
    • Related Library Collections Within Tulane University: The university has several libraries separate from the main Howard-Tilton Memorial Library. These include libraries for the professional schools of business, medicine, and law as well as special libraries such as the Vorhoff Library and Newcomb Archives. 
    • Cooperative Resources: The Howard-Tilton Memorial Library encourages cooperative resource-sharing arrangements such as the Library's membership in the Center for Research Libraries (in Chicago) whose specialized collections are listed in the library's catalog and accessible through interlibrary loan. These types of formal cooperative collection agreements may have direct effect on collection decisions.
    • Neighboring Resources: Tulane University is one of several universities with libraries in the New Orleans metropolitan area and within the State of Louisiana. A number of special libraries in the region, such as the Amistad Research Center, The Historic New Orleans Collection, or the library for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, house valuable research materials. The Howard-Tilton Memorial Library maintains and encourages cooperative use agreements that extend borrowing privileges to Tulane graduate students and faculty at neighboring academic libraries. Because selection decisions at these libraries are not made cooperatively, these types of use agreements do not necessarily effect selection decisions for Howard-Tilton collections.

    Quality

    The quality of a title must be evaluated weighing several subjective factors collectively, including its sponsorship; scholarship; level of creativity; lasting value; the reputation of the author, the publisher, the contributors, the editorial board; the quality and importance of the illustrations; and whether or not bibliographies are included. None of these is the deciding factor alone but each is considered as it contributes to or detracts from the overall quality.


    Price

    The value of any item in the collection cannot be measured only by considering its price. The price, however, in addition to the other criteria mentioned here, has to be considered when evaluating a purchase. When evaluating "free" materials or gifts, the cost of acquisitions processing, cataloging, shelving, and preservation must also be considered.

    August 2014

    The collections of the Howard-Tilton Memorial Library support the educational and research programs of Tulane University. Librarians employ the following general criteria when evaluating titles to be added or removed from the collections and when tailoring profiles for approval plans. Particular criteria assume greater or lesser importance depending on the material under consideration, the resources available, the acquisitions commitment level, and the subject matter covered.

  • Tulane Libraries Off-Site Library Facility

    Nearly 700,000 volumes from the Howard-Tilton Memorial Library are housed at its off-site storage facility at 900 South Jefferson Davis Parkway about two miles north of Tulane's uptown campus. This includes some 500,000 older volumes from the library's general collection as well as a substantial amount of material restored after Hurricane Katrina and temporarily housed in theTulane Libraries Recovery Center portion of the facility.   The off-site storage facility also houses a large amount archival material from the library's special collections. This include manuscripts from its Louisiana Research Collection (LaRC), historic architectural drawings from Southeastern Architectural Archive, and newspapers from the Latin American Library. 

    The Tulane Off-Site Library Facility was opened in 2003.  Circulating materials housed off-site are listed in the library's online catalog and a courier makes a daily run in each weekday that ensures 24-hour turn around on off-site requests, excluding weekends.  Users make these requests using the convenient Off-site Materials Request Form .

    On its own the off-site facility would be considered a large library and it is indeed the third largest in Louisiana. It  also respresents a wonderful collection: comparative collection analysis has shown that nearly 60 percent of its holdings are unique among the 14 largest research libraries in the Southeastern United States.

    The Tulane Libraries Recovery Center is in in a 14,000 square foot corner of the off-site facility and the center is a multifaceted series of programs that was organized  to handle more than 1 million items from restoration, donations, and initial replacement purchases that were the library's means to rebuild collections damaged or lost after Hurricane Katrina.

  • Hurricane Katrina and the Library's Collections

    In the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 the basement of the Howard-Tilton Memorial Library--an area about the size of a football field--was flooded by more than eight feet of water. The area housed a music library and very large collections of government documents, newspapers, and microforms. Jones Hall across the parking lot houses the library's Special Collections and its basement filled with about four feet of water.

    As a result, in the Howard-Tilton building alone more than 700,000 of the library’s individual print volumes and recordings were submerged underwater, as were nearly 1.5 million individual pieces of microform such as microfilm reels and microfiche cards.  In Jones Hall another 700,000 or so manuscript folders and other archival items also needed to be salvaged.

    In those initial days after Katrina, both these library buildings--especially the large Howard-Tilton main library--became ticking time bombs for their collections. Their deep basement lakes produced rapidly growing humidity while the loss of power shut off any circulating air.  Being mid-summer in New Orleans at the time, the interior temperature in these closed-off structures began to climb dangerously.  Mold is toxic to library collections and this was the worst-case scenario for a library disaster of historic scale.

    The disaster management company BELFOR was called to the scene within days for early reconnaissance, as part of Tulane's campus-wide emergency plan.  After the water receded from campus, BELFOR trucks navigated through surrounding downed trees and power lines to bring in a battery of huge generators and specialized equipment. Then in both library buildings engineers installed an elaborate series of giant tubes to pump dry air throughout each floor in danger.  A battle against humidity and mold was very quickly begun, while the city was closed off to all but military and emergency personnel. Within four weeks of the storm, water from the lower levels of each building was removed.

    Once drained, the basement spaces of the Howard-Tilton building bore little if any resemblance to the same spaces pre-Katrina.  Furniture and in some cases shelving had floated to different locations.  Walls, floors, and all contents were coated with muck and slime.  This had become a foul, dank 40,000 square foot cave whose pathways through the dark debris were lit only by the occasional bare bulb from utility lamps strung along yellow extension cords.  Face masks were mandatory and BELFOR workers used these trails to remove selected library collections in dark sacks that resembled body bags.  

    The Maxwell Music Library in the basement held more than 43,000 titles including books, scores, journals, CDs, LPs, and more. In general, the salvage operation overall was focused on our print materials, which had less chance of eventual replacement and a better chance for restoration. Amidst the soggy wreckage, more than 70 percent of the printed books and scores in the music library were salvaged for restoration. No recordings could be saved.

    Nearby the Government Documents area held the largest amount of print material with well over 500,000 volumes. About 20 percent of this collection was salvaged, a selected portion of older print materials thought to be difficult to replace.  Nearly all of the salvaged government documents were trapped in compact storage units no longer functional and that had to be ripped apart to get at the soupy material inside.  

    A very large Microforms area on the north side of the basement held perhaps the richest collections of those flooded in the main building: more than 30,000 titles of facsimile collections of rare or scholarly material and newspaper archives.  Nearly 1.5 million individual pieces of microform in all.   Sadly, less than five percent of these materials could be selectively salvaged because of the damage that lengthy immersion in dirty water can do to microforms, especially in formats such as fiche or microcard.

    Also salvaged for restoration from the Howard-Tilton basement were all 16,000 or so items from a "protected storage" area with compact shelving that housed a large number of important books in art and photography (including many catalogues raisonnes) and a cataloging backlog of several thousand other important printed works. 

    There were other areas of the Howard-Tilton basement where collections has been housed.  These included a second storage area with bound volumes of older science journals and a large area of open shelving adjacent to the Microforms area that had housed a varied mix of materials--such as newspapers, more government documents, geo-political reports, and books from the Howard Collection,which was one of the first library collections acquired by the university.  None of those materials could be salvaged, given the wreckage and difficult conditions in those areas.   

    In the Jones Hall basement a successful effort was made to retrieve everything of value, more than 4,000 boxes of material overall.  These are archival collections comprised largely of historical manuscripts but also other primary source archival materials for research that included registration cards, newspapers, books, posters, matted prints and other art work, cartoons, photographs, lithographs, ledgers, diaries, journals, scrapbooks, and miscellaneous ephemera.

    Overall, more than 300,000 important print volumes, 18,000 reels of microfilm, and 629,711 archival items affected by the storm were salvaged and, remarkably, restored through a highly technical and elaborate process to varying degrees of useable condition.  After the restoration process they were returned to be reintegrated into the library’s collections through a monumental effort called the Tulane Libraries Recovery Center.

    The upper floors in both library buildings, and the collections on them, were saved from mold although each structure, especially the main Howard-Tilton building, sustained severe lasting physical damages.  

    Almost nine years later, temperature and humidity control in the main Howard-Tilton building is still being provided by a now aging battery of temporary HVAC units, with air distributed throughout each floor by long semi-inflated tubes hung from the ceilings and attached through the windows along the back of the building to eight galvanized metal towers.  The building’s giant basement remains gutted and empty, as does the basement level in Jones Hall. 

    But both buildings were miraculously open for that first, vital post-Katrina spring 2006 semester.  Now work has finally begun on a large-scale building remediation project and in the meantime we have steadily restored and rebuilt our collections.

    In summary, much was lost but remarkable work was and is still being done in this.  While there have been major losses, the rapid response and salvage effort after the storm were examples of remarkable professionalism and logistical and technical expertise at a time when it appeared from media reports that nothing like this could be found in New Orleans in the wake of Katrina. (See more photos.)

    Recovery Center

    To rebuild collections damaged or lost to Hurricane Katrina, the library created the Tulane Libraries Recovery Center to handle more than 1 million restored items, donations, and initial replacement purchases. The Recovery Center represents a library recovery of historic scale.

    Howard-Tilton Memorial Library Build-Back and Hazard Mitigation Project

    To rebuild the physical spaces destroyed as a result of Katrina's flooding Tulane University has developed a Hazard Mitigation and Build-Back Program with funding assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to construct two additional floors on top of the existing Howard-Tilton Memorial Library building. This addition will house elements of the library that were formerly located in its basement, as well as elements from the damaged lower stack level of Jones Hall.  The new floors will provide replacement of lost library spaces as well as the replacement and relocation of the building’s primary mechanical and electrical systems, which were also destroyed.
     
    The hazard mitigation component of the program is addressed by rebuilding the flooded spaces at a high elevation. The build-back component is addressed by reconstructing the same spaces for similar uses, adjusted in scale only to accommodate modern building codes and regulations.  Discussions with FEMA about the project began in 2007 and a design phase with construction plans was finally completed in 2012.  Construction began in the fall of 2013 and is expected to be complete in the fall of 2015.

    Andy Corrigan
    Associate Dean of Libraries


    July 2014

    In the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 the basement of the Howard-Tilton Memorial Library--an area about the size of a football field--was flooded by more than eight feet of water. The area housed a music library and very large collections of government documents, newspapers, and microforms. Jones Hall across the parking lot houses the library's Special Collections and its basement filled with about four feet of water.

  • Tulane Libraries Recovery Center

    Tulane Libraries Recovery Center, 900 S. Jeff Davis Pkwy, NOLAHoward-Tilton Memorial Library created a landmark undertaking called the Tulane Libraries Recovery Center to handle more than 1 million items from restoration, donations, and initial replacement purchases planned as a means to rebuild collections damaged or lost to Hurricane Katrina—principal research collections in the Louisiana | Gulf Coast region and relied upon by a host of users.

    The Recovery Center is based at a space adjacent to Tulane’s off site library storage facility at 900 S. Jefferson Davis Parkway, about two miles from the university’s uptown campus. It directly addresses the exigent fact that each item restored or replaced needed processing similar to newly acquired items at a time when disaster-effected libraries were critically short on staff.

    Hurricane Katrina left the basement of the library's main Howard-Tilton building—an area larger than a football field—filled with more than eight feet of water. The basement housed a music library and very large collections of government documents, newspapers, and microforms. Jones Hall across the parking lot houses the library's Special Collections; its lowest level filled with about four feet of water.

    After the storm a major operation was quickly staged to drain these areas in order to salvage materials for restoration. Then the library’s monumental collections recovery challenges unfolded, most of them in uncharted territory. Tulane was able to cover a portion of the the salvage, restoration, temporary lease, and processing costs associated with its Recovery Center with assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).  Indeed, by meeting directly with FEMA early on, the library secured promised assitance through a complex  array of interconnected FEMA project work sheets that addressed many of the Recovery Center's major goals ranging from materials processing to temporary storage.

    Overall, in the Howard-Tilton building alone more than 700,000 of the library’s print volumes and recordings had been submerged underwater for more than three weeks, as were some 1.5 million individual pieces of microform such as microfilm reels or microfiche cards. In Jones Hall another 700,000 or so manuscript folders and other archival items also needed to be salavaged. No recordings could be saved and only a relatively small amount of microfilm (18,000 reels) could be recovered from title categories selectively chosen.  However, nearly all archival materials damaged were salvaged. So too was about 70 percent of the music library’s printed books and scores, along with important older government documents and foreign language materials that had been waiting to be cataloged.

    BELFOR in Ft. Worth, TXThe restoration process was handled by the disaster mitigation firm BELFOR at a technical facility in Ft. Worth, TX. BELFOR also conducted the initial salvage of these materials, which were selected by the library for restoration in September 2005 immediately after the storm. After the salvage operation, BELFOR began to thaw and restore the library’s salvaged materials at its recovery headquarters in Fort Worth, TX.  For printed material the remediation process involved unfreezing each salvaged item, washing its pages, drying to remove moisture, and radiation treatment to eliminate any residual mold.  Once the materials were individually allowed to thaw, they were identified and moved to a washing table.  Each print volume or document was carefully washed, page by page, with a gentle stream of filtered water and with a soft bristle brush or a foam brush if required.  Carts full of washed materials were then refrozen and later placed into a vacuum freeze-dry chamber, which used vacuum pumps to remove 99 percent of the air that is normally present in the atmosphere. The very low pressure level made sure that the drying took place by sublimation (ice changing to vapor without passing through the liquid phase) and that nothing dried by evaporation (liquid changing to vapor).  This reduced the degradation of the materials during the drying process while avoiding the waving and expansion that normally occurs when wet paper dries. 

    Microfilm was also packed and frozen at the salvage stage.  But once in Ft. Worth, the film was inspected and cleaned by hand.  Then it was reprocessed on a 35 mm microfilm processor using multiple rinse tanks.  After reprocessing the film was placed on new spools and then placed in light resistant black plastic boxes with new labels using information from the original.

    Library Associates Companies (LAC), based in California, was the contractor that the library hired for its Recovery Center processing and cataloging operations through a competitive bidding process completed in spring 2007. That summer, thousands of boxes of restored materials were returned by BELFOR to fill the Recovery Center’s freshly renovated warehouse where more than a dozen technical staff, most of them recruited nationally by LAC, quickly got down to business--with direction provided by a small team of Howard-Tilton representatives.

    Storage at the Recovery CenterThe largest and perhaps most critical phase of the Recovery Center’s overall task was the processing of restored materials. This was also the very important process through which the library will be able to make a final determination as to exactly which of the collected works formerly housed in its storm-affected areas were lost and which were saved. This involved the physical handling of each item and two basic categories of work: (a) checking returned items against the library’s holdings to reactivate online catalog records while updating holdings information where needed and (b) basic sorting and inventory of restored uncataloged material such as manuscripts from Special Collections.

    All restored materials were returned by BELFOR to the Recovery Center site in boxes shipped on pallets, generally 32 boxes per pallet and some 400 pallets in all. Several hundred thousand of these returning items would need to be checked against the library’s holdings to reactivate their online catalog records. The rest would need basic sorting, reboxing, and an inventory.

    More than 110,000 returning items were government documents.  Others were music scores, music books or journal volumes, and books from a "protected storage" area and cataloging backlog.  Also returning with the retored materials originally salvaged from the Howard-Tilton building were more than 18,000 restored reels of microfilm--local newspaper and rare Latin American reels that had been selectively fished from the wreckage.

    Restored material from Jones Hall included archival collections comprised largely of historical manuscripts but also other primary source archival materials for research that included registration cards, newspapers, books, posters, matted prints and other art work, cartoons, photographs, lithographs, ledgers, diaries, journals, scrapbooks, and miscellaneous ephemera. A total of 629,711 special collections items were restored to useable condition and reboxed.  A comparatively small amount of archival material was intially salvaged but could not be restored to useable condition, although these were returned to the library at its Recovery Center as well.

    The processing of donations was a project phase of the Recovery Center that was more technically complex in that it required the items handled to be cataloged, including some original cataloging for items such as music scores. This needed a much higher level of expertise different from the processing of materials returning from restoration. The scale of the cataloging phase grew as the library added replacement purchases to the scope of work.  But many important donations were key to the recovery effort; among the first was a collection of some 2,300 mostly new art and photography books given to the library by Edwin Blair, a local collector. This was a much appreciated gift given the large number of similar art and photography titles that were effectively destroyed as a result of Katrina.

    More than a hundred libraries and individuals across North America donated music books, scores and CDs-- some 20,000 titles in all. In 2010, Stan Levenson, a private collector based in Texas, donated to the recovery effort his enormous collection of more than 5,000 LPs, CDs, DVDS, VHS videos, books, and journals documenting a history of contemporary jazz from the 1940s through the early 1970s.   Rather than specifiying that the materials be archived and preserved, he asked instead that it all become part of our general collections, to be used and borrowed by as many library users as possible.

    Eventually, in the targeted priority area of music and media the library was able to build back a collection that today is much larger it was before the storm.

    In an important milestone, the first initial batch of restored music books was delivered to the library from the Recovery Center in a small ceremony on Friday, March 14, 2008. Most of the library’s restored printed music books and scores--a top recovery priority--were back on the library’s shelves, on schedule, by the end of that summer.  Projects at the Recover Center are expected to continue into 2015, and perhaps beyond. 

    In summary, the Recovery Center is a grand innovation born of necessity and through it a great deal has been accomplished under challenging and extraordinary circumstances.  It was the foundation for a mammoth library recovery and rebuilding effort.

    Andy Corrigan
    Associate Dean of Libraries

    July 2014

    Howard-Tilton Memorial Library has created a landmark undertaking called the Tulane Libraries Recovery Center that is a program to handle more than 1 million items from restoration, donations, and initial replacement purchases planned as a means to rebuild collections damaged or lost to Hurricane Katrina—principal research collections in the Louisiana | Gulf Coast region and relied upon by a host of users.