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Today, the recovery that New Orleans Public Library has been working steadily toward since Katrina destroyed two-thirds of our facilities is beginning to take a clear shape and pick up speed. This page will keep you abreast of our rebuilding progress.

Progress Updates

September 22, 2011
The Nix Branch has reopened for normal hours: 10 am - 7 pm, Monday - Thursday. 10 am - 5 pm, Saturday.

August 15, 2011
The Algiers Regional Branch has reopened for normal hours: 10 am - 7 pm, Monday - Thursday. 10 am - 5 pm, Saturday.

July 30, 2011
The East New Orleans Branch has reopened for normal hours: 10 am - 7 pm, Monday - Thursday. 10 am - 5 pm, Saturday. The modular has been moved to a different location at the same address but in front of the construction site.

July 6, 2011
The Keller Branch has reopened in its temporary location in the Andrew H. Wilson Charter School at 3617 General Pershing. The temporary location will be housed on the 2nd floor of the school in the computer lab within the school library. The entrance to the school is on S. Miro. Patrons will need to check in at the front desk before heading upstairs. The book drop is located is on S. Miro in front of the school. Until school starts in August, the library will be open with a small browsing collection and lots of computers from 12 pm - 7 pm, Monday - Thursday and Saturday.

June 30, 2011
The Algiers Regional, East New Orleans and Keller modular libraries have been temporarily closed in order to make room for the on-going construction of the new branches on those sites. The Algiers Regional and East New Orleans modulars are being moved and set up in new locations on the sites – East New Orleans to the front of the construction site and Algiers Regiona across the driveway of the adjacent shopping center. The modulars should be back in operation in July.

Until the new building opens, the Keller Library will operate temporarily out of the Andrew H. Wilson Charter School (3617 General Pershing), beginning Tuesday, July 5th. More information on hours of operation will be forthcoming.

The Nix Branch is closed temporarily while the AC system is being repaired.

Five New Libraries for New Orleans
NOPL leads in the City's recovery with the construction of 5 new libraries beginning this year. These locations are part of the Design Build process, an accelerated architectural and construction project producing new state-of-the-art facilities in 2011.
LINK HERE to see the designs   (Updated!)

ENO Pile Driving Construction Begins on East New Orleans Regional Branch
In mid-November, 2010, site work began on our new regional library in New Orleans East.

Keller Flies! Rosa Keller Library Gets Lifted!
On November 2, 2010, the Rosa Keller Library in Broadmoor began the shoring for the new foundation of the historic house, which will be one part of the new structure. A new addition will be attached to the rear of the old structure.

Katrina + 5:   A Message from NOPL's Interim Director

Keller Demolition Rosa Keller Library Rebuild is Underway!
The construction bid for the construction and historic renovation of the Rosa Keller Library and Community Center was awarded to Ryan Gootee General Contractors. The Notice to Proceed was issued on June 21, 2010 with a 370-day construction schedule. Substantial completion of the new facility is estimated for June 2011. The former library building that was attached to the historic house on the corner of Napoleon and Broad has been demolished to make way for new construction. Pile testing is underway. Construction of the new building and renovation of the existing builidng are to begin soon!

Algiers Regional Demolition Algiers Regional Library Demolition
On June 7, 2010, City officials joined NOPL administration and staff to witness the demolition of the Algiers Regional Branch. The Algiers Regional Public Library received extensive damage from Hurricane Katrina and has stood damaged with a temporary library site nearby. Algiers Regional Public Library is the third of the five libraries to be demolished and rebuilt with the “Design-Build” contracting method in which the architect, engineer and contractor operate under one project delivery contract. The building's demolition is the first step toward the construction of a new 30,000 sq ft library designed as a Wellness Branch with an accessible Wi-fi hotspot and dedicated room for children’s story time.

Latter Roof Replacement Latter Library Roof Replacement Project
Hazardous Materials Abatement Notice:
The renovation project at the Latter Memorial Library is currently dealing with hazardous materials. An Occupant Protection Plan has been implemented to protect all occupied space. There are measures and management procedures that will be taken by Gill Industries, Ltd to protect the human health and environment at this library. A copy of the full Occupant Protection Plan is available for review at Latter's circulation desk.

Fact Sheet on the Latter Roof Replacement Project:
Start date: March 29, 2010
Substantial Completion date: September 25, 2010
Construction Contractor: CMR Construction and Roofing
Project Manager: Sonji White, MWH
Scope of work: Removal of existing clay tiles; Structural roof repair; Complete installation of a new clay tile roof; additional repair and/or replacement of gutters, chimney area, porch roof, and railings.
Repairs will include the adjacent Carriage House; Repairs will maintain the historical integrity of the building; Repairs are not expected to affect library's hours of operation; Entrance/ exits have been changed for safety purposes.

Smith Groundbreaking Robert E. Smith Branch Groundbreaking Ceremony
Library and City officians joined members of the Lakeview community on January 28 to break ground for the new Robert E. Smith Branch. The re-designed library will be approximately 13,000 square feet and will offer sustainability features including public transportation access, energy efficiency, bicycle storage, water-efficient landscaping, water-use reduction and passive cooling. The Robert E. Smith Library is being constructed as a design-build project, a non- traditional alternative to the current Design-Bid-Build method normally used in public construction projects. Design-build projects join the architect, engineer and contractor under one project delivery contract, making a single source responsible for design, construction and scheduling, allows for greater cost control and leads to quicker delivery of the project. The facility will cost approximately $4 million and has an anticipated completion date of late 2010.

Gentilly Groundbreaking Gentilly Branch Groundbreaking Ceremony
On December 29, City and Library officials gathered to break ground for the new Norman Mayer Branch. The library, known to most as the "Gentilly Branch," was completely destroyed by Hurricane Katrina; the new facility will be expanded from 7,850 square feet to approximately 19,000 square feet. The structure's $5.5 million cost is being funded by FEMA, Disaster Community Block Grant Funds, and Energy Grant. The building has an anticipated completion date of late 2010.

Gentilly Site Expansion Gentilly Branch Site Expansion
On December 17, recently purchased property next to the Gentilly Branch was demolished to make way for construction of the new 18,000 square foot branch at 1200 Foy Street. The ground breaking for the new branch is coming soon!

ENO Groundbreaking East New Orleans Regional Branch Groundbreaking Ceremony
The East New Orleans Regional Library Ground Breaking was held on Dec. 4, 2009. The 30,000 sq. two floor building is expected to be completed in late 2010.

Robert E. Smith Library Demolition
On October 2, the Robert E. Smith Library was demolished -- the third of NOPL's Katrina-damaged branches to be torn down. The demolition paves the way for the construction of a new 13,000 square foot facility on the old Smith Branch footprint.

Click on the small image at left to see additional pictures of the Smith Branch demolition.

East New Orleans Temporary Branch Opens

The East New Orleans Temporary Branch, 5641 Read Blvd., will officially open to the public on Monday October 5, 2009.

The Hours of Operation and phone number are:
10 am - 7 pm, Mon. & Wed.
10 am - 6 pm, Tues. & Thurs.
10 am - 5 pm, Sat.
Temporary Phone Number 246-7005

A Grand Opening Celebration will be held on Tuesday, October 13, 2009, from 2 p.m. – 3 p.m.

Design Build Presentation Design-Build Project for Five Branch Libraries
(Algiers Regional, Nora Navra, Gentilly, Smith, East New Orleans)

Selection Committee and Oral Presentations
June 9, 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Main Library Auditorium
Link here to read about the Design-Build presentations

East New Orleans Branch Comes Down
On February 16, the second of our flood-damaged branches -- the East New Orleans Regional Branch at 5641 Read Blvd. -- was demolished to make way for the construction of a new branch within the next two years. The new branch, fast-tracked in the Design-Build process described below, will be more than twice the size of the old branch, and the cost of construction will be covered by FEMA public-assistance grants and Community Development Block Grants. Meanwhile, a temporary modular library, funded by the Gates Foundation, will be in place within the next several months.

Five Libraries Added to Design-Build Process

The City of New Orleans has fast-tracked the demolition, planning, and construction of five NOPL branches closed after Katrina: Norman Mayer (Gentilly), Algiers Point, New Orleans East, Robert E. Smith, and Nora Navra. The City will solicit contractors to bid on and complete design and construction of these branches during 2009.

Read the Design-Build ordinance here.

Demolition in Gentilly

On February 4th, the Norman Mayer ("Gentilly") Branch, 2098 Foy Street, was demolished -- the first step toward the rebuilding of this facility, which served the Gentilly neighborhood since 1949. The City has concluded negotiations with FEMA regarding the percentage of storm damage and FEMA's share of the rebuilding costs.

While the construction of a larger, permanent structure progresses, the Gentilly neighborhood will be served by a new temporary branch to open this summer in the former Rainbow store in the business strip near the old branch.

Click on the small image at left to see a larger version of the Gentilly Branch coming down.

Three New Temporary Libraries Open


NOPL has recently opened three temporary branch facilities, thanks to a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and SOLINET (Southeastern Library Network). These modular facilities are Lakeview, Keller, and Algiers Regional.

Link here for location, hours, and contact information for our new facilities.

Rosa Keller Branch and Community Center

Eskew, Dumez & Ripple, the architectural firm responsible for the renovation of the Rosa F. Keller Library and Community Center, has provided a rendering to give an idea of what the project will look like upon completion. NOPL is pleased to have the firm on board and excited to see this renovation get underway.

Click on the small image at left to see a larger version of the rendering.

SoFAB Partnership

NOPL has recently embarked upon a collaboration with the Southern Food and Beverage Museum (SoFAB) and will shortly be opening a culinary collection housed at the Main Library. The non-circulating collection will be made up of approximately 5,000 cookbooks and culinary texts from around the South and the Nation. Those who are interested in donating additional cookbooks can contact the Southern Food and Beverage Museum at (504) 569-0405.

Click on the small image at left to see a larger version of the photo of NOPL Board Chair Irvin Mayfield at the press conference announcing the SoFAB/NOPL partnership.

Link here to read the press release.
Link here to visit SoFAB and learn more about our collaboration.

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