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New Orleans Public Library celebrates 125 years! We look back at its rich and complex history

This year on Jan. 18, the New Orleans Public Library celebrated 125 years of serving the community.

Opening in 1897, the city’s first public library was located inside St. Patrick’s Hall on Lafayette Square with a collection of more than 35,000 volumes.

Now in 2022, the New Orleans Public Library system has 15 locations with hundreds of thousands of free publications to help enrich and inspire the community.

But the city’s libraries were not always open to all community members. To learn more about New Orleans’ library history, including the story of their integration, Louisiana Considered’s Managing Producer Alana Schreiber spoke with the Director of City Archives and Special Collections at New Orleans Public Library, Christina Bryant. She also spoke with author, educator and librarian Dr. Elaine Parker Adams, who grew up frequenting the city’s libraries.

Alana Schreiber is the managing producer for the live daily news program, Louisiana Considered. She comes to WWNO from KUNC in Northern Colorado, where she worked as a radio producer for the daily news magazine, Colorado Edition. She has previously interned for Minnesota Public Radio in St. Paul and The Documentary Group in New York City.

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