February 17, 2018

Ann Curtis | Movers & Shakers 2006

Gimme (More Than) Shelter


When ProQuest decided to help both libraries and hurricane survivors who had lost everything, it created an Internet library for evacuees in Baton Rouge, LA, and donated $1 million worth of databases and instruction materials. It also donated Ann Curtis as project leader: when a project has enormous logistical and coordination problems, assign it to the woman who organizes exhibits at 100-plus trade shows and conferences every year and has built a sizable network of librarians, suppliers, and fellow exhibitors.

Her Rolodex got a workout as she and her team put together partnerships: with IBM, which offered PCs and Young Explorer workstations; with Argosy Gaming Company, which provided logistical support; and with librarians from East Baton Rouge Parish Library (EBRPL) and library students from Louisiana State University, who helped evacuees find the information they desperately needed. Curtis also ‘called in favors from ProQuest’s trade show vendors,’ who donated shipping, warehousing, furniture, graphics, and paper.

Three weeks after evacuees arrived in Baton Rouge, the IBM/Proquest Internet & Homework Library was up and running. Curtis’s team was hands-on in Baton Rouge, even working straight through Hurricane Rita. When the library moved to Renaissance Village (the FEMA trailer park), Curtis was ‘connecting equipment, helping children, handing out snacks,’ says Patricia Husband of EBRPL. ‘She was on the roof, in a Santa hat, hanging twinkle lights for the grand opening.’ It was an exhausting but worthwhile opportunity for a woman who thinks librarians are a ‘force for good.’ She got to help them.



Current Position Manager, Exhibits and Trade Shows, ProQuest
Degrees B.A., University of Michigan, 1989
Member ALA Scholarship Bash Committee