Puerto Rico's libraries, archives and museums road to recovery: A timeline of events after Hurricane Maria


Hurricane Maria was a big awakening to all. The idea of creating a timeline to document and showcase not only the damages, but also the recovery process, had two inspirations, the Japan Disaster Archives and the CENTRO report about the Island after the hurricane. Wonderfully enough I was involved - or at least I knew about - some of the initiatives that took place to aid the recovery efforts of archives, museums and especially libraries. But, this work had not been possible without the support of many. Here I list only a few, I know there are others that work behind the public eye or prefer to be unnamed.

First, I would like to give a special thanks to Jaquelina Álvarez, the Coordinator of the Graduate Research and Innovation Center in the General Library at the University of Puerto Rico in Mayagüez (UPRM) - aka my Boss - who, with a phone call, began the snowball effect and has supported my participation and active involvement throughout all these months; even more wonderful, she has been involved herself in most of them as well. Also, to the General Library at UPRM & The Transformational Initiative for Graduate Education and Research (TIGER), sponsored by the US Department of Education, Title V, Part B, Promoting Postbaccalaureate Opportunities for Hispanic Americans (PPOHA) Program (#P031M140035) for providing me time to participate in the recovery process of Puerto Rico, and Jean P. Domenech Ramos from the Graduate Writing Facilitators (GWF) for his amazing input while revising the text. Also, the National Endowment for the Humanities's Chairman's Emergency Grant awarded to the General Library at the University of Puerto Rico (Award# PB-260678-18) for providing the tools and supplies needed to help the library during the recovery phase and inspiring me throughout this documentation project.

My third and most grateful thanks go to Miriam Centeno, Collection Care Coordinator at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. Her dedication and care for Puerto Rico is indescribable. Days after the hurricane she was moving heaven and earth to aid us and is still by our side guiding and advocating for us, almost a year after. More than a mentor, she has become a friend and I will be forever grateful.

There are also amazing people who always said yes when I called for help, and gave their time and heart to work hard desde sus trincheras making sure things got done. Natalia Hernández Mejías, Cielo Martin Zayas, Yadira Tirado, Julio Quirós Alcalá and Joel Blanco-Rivera. Also, I would like to give a special thanks to Lori Foley, Coordinator of the Heritage Emergency National Task Force (HENTF). She was deployed to Puerto Rico for six months to aid FEMA and the cultural heritage sector. Her professionalism, dedication, and care will always be in our hearts.

And so many more who's help made Puerto Rico a much better place: 
Abigail Aldrich .  ABESPRI .  ACURIL .  ALA . Amanda Alonso . Amanpreet (Aman) Kaur . Anidza Valentín .  Aniela Batres . Anne Lama .  ArchiRED .  ASEGRABCI .  Audrey Moisiuk . Beatriz Centeno . Brenna Campbell . Brinnen Carter . Caroline Gil . Coral Salomón . Cristina Rivera . Donnie Booher . Elizabeth Borges . Elizabeth Milnarik . Erika Rodríguez . Estudiantes de la EGCTI . Evelyn Milagros Rodríguez . FAIC . Felicia Owens . FPH . Girmaye Misgna . Grisell Rodríguez . Gwenn Gallestein .  HENTF-FEMA . Jeanne Drewes . Jeannette Lebrón . Jennifer Groman . Jessica Unger . John McDade . Johnny Lugo . José Sanchez . Karen Cana . Karla Martínez . Katherine Irizarry . Luisa Vigo . Margot Chitrenky . Marta Mabel Pérez . Melisa Rodríguez Rodríguez . Melody Navarro . Mercy Delgado . Michael Dowling . NEH . NHR . Nora Lockshin . Pedro Fortunato . Rebecca Elder . REFORMA Nacional y Capítulo de Puerto Rico . SAA . Sofia Cánepa . Sofia Gallisá . Soraya Serra . Sujei Lugo . Susan Duhl . Tamara Ríos . Tara Kennedy . Velmary Trinidad . Verónica Mercado . Vicki Lee . Vickram Aujala .  Voluntari@s .  Wanda Pérez . William Bosanko . Zorali de Feria .

I am not even close to acknowledging EVERYONE. For those not mentioned, know that I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Last but not least, I would like to make a standing ovation to all those that, in spite of the harsh conditions that we are still dealing with in our institutions, do their best to care for their collections and ensure they are safe for the generations to come. 

This page has paths: