Interview with John Augelli, Executive Director of the Rosenberg Library, Galveston, TX
After Hurricane Ike slammed Galveston, TX, September 13, there was little immediate word regarding the Rosenberg Library (web site inoperative), the 75,000 square foot complex downtown that houses a library, archives, and museum and serves as the headquarters for the Galveston County Library System. Now, John Augelli, the library’s executive director, tells LJ that he and two other staffers stayed behind "thinking it would be good to be there, to see what I could do." Initially, that wasn't much. Instead, they listened, and watched, as a storm surge wiped out the first floor with over six feet of water. "It was a sound that you’d never forget."
Now, the library is at the beginning of a long recovery that began with pumping out the water, emptying the first floor of what used to be the children's collection, and drying out the space to ensure that humidity does not damage valuable archival material. The library still lacks phone and web service. When that is restored, the library will post information on how to help. For nearly a week, residents like Augelli didn’t even have cell phone service, relying instead on text messages.
"I have devoted every minute and all my energy to the recovery process," Augelli told LJ in a phone interview today.