Archive for March, 2011

Louisiana Connecting to Collections Statewide Preservation Planning Survey

Monday, March 28th, 2011

The Louisiana Libraries, Archives, and Museums Preservation Project (LA LAMPP) formed as a collaboration among the with Louisiana Archives and Manuscripts Association (LAMA) Le Comité des Archives de la Louisiane, Inc., Louisiana Association of Museums (LAM), and LYRASIS (regional library services organization), announces the final results of the Louisiana Connecting to Collections Statewide Preservation Planning Survey.

View the final summary report
and the original survey questions

The project was funded with a federal grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Following up on the survey, the LYRASIS consultant will make selected site visits in conjunction with workshops in New Orleans, May 23; Baton Rouge, May 24; Alexandria, May 25; and Shreveport May 26. These workshops will teach staff from cultural heritage institutions how to survey their own collections and provide information on preservation grants available to individual institutions to enhance their preservation practices. Analysis of the web survey results will be used to develop an action plan for future statewide preservation projects. If you would like to attend a workshop contact Laura McLemore,, phone 318-797-5378, for more information.

Award-Winning Novelist Susan Straight to Present Lecture and Reading at Special Collections, March 24th

Monday, March 7th, 2011

Susan Straight, an award-winning novelist and author, will present a reading and lecture Thursday, March 24, at 4 p.m. in the Hill Memorial Library lecture hall on the LSU campus. The event is free and open to the public.

A celebrated novelist, Straight’s body of work has centered on a group of characters from or connected to Rio Seco – a fictionalized version of Riverside, Calif., the city where Straight was born, raised and resides. Stories she had heard about her extended family’s migration from Louisiana to California compelled her to investigate Louisiana history and culture dating back to the 18th century. Her two most recent novels, “A Million Nightingales” and “Take One Candle Light a Room,” comprise the first two parts of a trilogy-in-progress about a group of characters who trace their lineage to the Bayou State.

Straight’s research took her to places all over Louisiana, including the historic Laura Plantation in Vacherie, the Woodland Plantation in Plaquemines Parish, sugar cane fields in St. James Parish, Bayou Courtableau and the LSU Rural Life Museum in Baton Rouge. She also conducted extensive archival work at the courthouse in Opelousas and at the LSU Libraries Special Collections.

In her presentation, titled “How Research Informs the Creative Process,” Straight will discuss her adventure-filled travels across the state, the stories she heard from those she encountered and the array of historical documents from which she gleaned inspiration. She will also read from her works.

The author of seven novels, Straight has won the Milkweed Fiction Prize, a Lannan Literary Award and an Edgar Allan Poe award. She has been a finalist for the National Book Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. She has also written two books for younger readers, “Bear E. Bear” and “The Friskative Dog.” Her essays have appeared in publications as varied as the New York Times, Reader’s Digest, Family Circle, Salon, Harper’s, The Nation and many others. She currently teaches creative writing at the University of California, Riverside.

This event is co-sponsored by LSU Libraries Special Collections, the LSU English Department, the English Graduate Student Association and New Delta Review.

For more information, contact New Delta Review Fiction Editor David Newman at

The 18th Century in 3-D

Friday, March 4th, 2011

Special Collections recently acquired a wonderful little eighteenth-century “view book” of six hand-colored cards showing a scene on a Caribbean plantation. The item is meant to be viewed with each card set slightly apart from the others, creating a three-dimensional effect. In the foreground of the scene are three couples lounging and chatting together. Moving into the scene, we see slaves cutting sugar cane under the watchful eye of an overseer. Beyond that are the slave quarters, a sugar mill, and the plantation house.

These cards are a valuable addition to the library’s holdings of materials on slavery, sugar, and Caribbean history. A related recent acquisition is Buonaparte in the West Indies, or, The History of Toussaint Louverture, the African Hero (1803). Attributed to the abolitionist James Stephen, the work is an account of the rule in Haiti of former slave Toussaint L’Ouverture, his resistance to Napoleon Bonaparte’s attempt to reinstate slavery on the island, and his treacherous arrest and murder in a French dungeon in April 1803.

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