Come Fat Tuesday, Emory University Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing Professor Lynda Nauright, EdD, RN, will probably get several knocks on her office door. Her Mardi Gras beads are a hot-ticket item this time of year. And Nauright will gladly hand them over in exchange for one thing - books.
Last summer, Nauright launched the "Beads for Books" drive to replace some of Dillard University's textbooks destroyed by Hurricane Katrina's waist-deep floodwaters. Dillard is located in the heart of New Orleans where damage was most severe.
"I wanted to do something personal not just write a check," Nauright says.
Nauright solicited Emory nursing school faculty and students to donate used textbooks for Dillard's nursing school. Donors brought books and Nauright gave them beads. A New Orleans businesswoman donated the authentic Mardi Gras beads.
In just a few months, Nauright collected enough textbooks to fill a dozen boxes. She made her first road trip to New Orleans in October to deliver the books.
"The Dillard faculty was so appreciative of the donations," Nauright says. "One of the faculty members was so overcome. She told me, 'We're so glad you're doing this because we thought everyone had forgotten.'"
Since Nauright's visit to the Big Easy last fall, she's added 22 boxes of textbooks to the collection. She's received a range of nursing specialty books - surgical nursing, pharmacology, pediatric nursing, psychology and public health nursing - and plans to make a second trip to drop them off later this spring.
"I didn't think many people would give books, but the generosity has been overwhelming," Nauright says. "And you can gauge the tremendous level of support by all of the beads on display at the nursing school."