ALA Gives Back


A rewarding community service opportunity to give back to a local community.

ALA Gives Back Logo

Here at 826 New Orleans, we―like many organizations in New Orleans and beyond―have faced many hurdles in the last few years, from the lasting and ongoing impacts of COVID to the impacts of Hurricane Ida, a Category 4 storm that directly impacted Southern Louisiana in late August of 2021 as the second-most damaging and intense hurricane on record to make landfall in Louisiana.

While we have worked hard to bring back all of our low-to-no-cost creative writing and publishing programming to our community and classrooms, our Youth Writing Center, after a post-Ida reconstruction, needed significant work from clearing out and organizing storage spaces, to inventorying our books, publications, merchandise, and lagniappe items, to sorting our front store library spaces, to removing old furniture and organizing our Youth Writing classroom.

I cannot overstate how incredible and overwhelming it was to have such enthusiastic and dedicated support from the amazing ALA volunteers. I would find myself standing back in awe, watching so many people working so diligently and so energetically in our space to make it the best that it can be. When the second and final bus departed, I just walked around in awe. In 6 short hours, the whole world changed for us at 826 as our organized and sorted physical space could match our intent and drive to support and nurture and amplify the voices of young people through writing and publication. That we did it in collaboration with a professional group who are dedicated to the power of books, writing, and knowledge sharing, themselves so often facing some of the same hurdles that we do, was a magical thing to be a part of.

On behalf of the whole 826 New Orleans staff, we cannot say thank you enough. I joked with some of the volunteers that it was like a group of angels descended and gave us a miracle. But that is actually true―we feel like the beneficiaries of an incredible outpouring of support from a group of amazing and―what feels like―supernatural people. We are so appreciative of this gift and for meeting all of you. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts! You will, literally, live on in our space for years and years to come."

 Emily Star
Manager of Community Engagement & Strategic Partnerships
826 New Orleans

826 New Orleans! logo

LibLearnX is a must-attend learning experience designed for library professionals from all library types and at all career levels.