Public Libraries Hidden Assets in Community Disaster Response

Public Libraries Hidden Assets in Community Disaster Response

Public Libraries: Hidden Assets in Community Disaster Response Credit: Hurricane Alberto NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA-GSFC) 11.7.02 GL-2002-002155 There are more public libraries than McDonalds in the U.S. Isnt it time to systematically use and assist these assets in their community disaster response? Hurricane Preparedness & Response for Florida Public Libraries Public Libraries Hidden Assets in Community Disaster Response An Information Institute Panel Presentation by: Joe Ryan [email protected] Project Manager Hurricane/Disaster Preparedness and Response by Utilizing Florida Public Libraries Project Bio

For additional information see the project web site: http://www.ii.fsu.edu/hurricanes/ Contact: Information Use Management & Policy Institute 142 Collegiate Loop, P.O. Box 3062100, Tallahassee, FL 32306-2100 Telephone: 850.645.5683 Fax: 850.644.4522 Purpose Draw attention to public libraries as assets in community disaster response (preparation and recovery). Introduce disaster roles that public libraries play in aid of community disaster response. Suggest needed next steps to better utilize public libraries in disaster response. The Case

Public libraries are located in almost every community; Their locations are known and services trusted even by community members who do not regularly use the library. Any local public institution without a pre-assigned disaster role represents a lost opportunity should disaster strike. Mobile, Ala., Dec. 11, 2004 Mobile, AL - Federal Coordinating Officer Tony Russell teaches Annzwanetta Clark, 4, of Mobile, about the FEMA for Kids website at the Mobile Public Library Holiday Open House. FEMA Photo/Amanda Bicknell. From FEMA photo library, February 25, 2009,

http://www.photolibrary.fema.gov/photolibrary/photo_details.do ?id=12312 The Case At minimum, A trained public library staff: What are public library roles and my specific responsibilities? What is the emergency response system and the librarys place in it? Why does what I do matter? With adequate facilities and equipment to meet disasters demands: Is the library as secure as possible? What infrastructure needs upgrade to meet disaster recovery demands?

Represents a useful, complimentary asset in the disaster response toolkit. Public Libraries Play Key Roles to aid Community and Evacuee Hurricane Response Public library disaster roles may include providing: 1. Safe Haven 2. Normal Service 3. Disaster Recovery Cente r 4. Information Hub 5. Cultural Organizations Li aison 6. Evacuee Resource 7. Improvisation

Credit: Hialeah (FL) Public Library Public Library Disaster Roles Brief Descriptions Safe Haven: The public library is the communitys living room and study before and after a storm with safe, secure buildings, relaxing space, light, air conditioning, bathrooms and comfortable chairs. Normal Service: The community counts on normal library service before and after a disaster be it book DVD or Internet use, reference or family programming. Normal service provides hope, re-establishes government presence, reduces stress, returns normalcy, and offers recreation. Disaster Recovery Center (DRC): Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) offers a FEMA designated DRC; a state, county or municipal DRC, a Point of distribution (POD) of aid, or simply a place for neighbors to make sense and provide aid.

Public Library Disaster Roles Brief Descriptions Information Hub: The community counts on the library to offer access to various communication equipment, to be a trusted provider of accurate, reliable information, to produce needed information aids where they do not exist, and to deliver this information using whatever IT the community uses and can afford. Cultural Organizations Liaison: May serve as a liaison between emergency management and community cultural organizations. Evacuee Resource: Evacuees count on the nearest public library DRC, and information hub. Improvise: Should a disaster strike, the public library will improvise and do what is needed to assist in the communitys recovery. Next Steps: Federal & State

Define public libraries as essential services Is there a need for a public library emergency support function (ESF)? Survey, on a statewide basis, public library capacity & need. Integrate public libraries into the emergency response system. Vero Beach, FL, December 2, 1999 -- Federal Emergency Management Agency and Florida emergency management officials confer with a resident at the County Library DRC. Credit: Ty Harrington/FEMA News Photo. Next Steps: Public Library Disaster

Capacity Survey Survey, on a statewide basis, public library capacity & need. For partial examples see: Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners. (2009, February 20). Libraries as DRCs sparks national interest. Ryan, Joe. (2009). Disaster recovery center basic requirements. Credit: FEMA photo library http://www.photolibrary.fema.gov/photolibrary/photo_details.do ?id=38306

Next Steps: Local Take a look at our project web site, focused on hurricanes, and then at Making the Case Offer NIMS and other training to library managers and staff so at minimum they better understand your priorities and focus. Invite your local librarian to lunch to discuss priorities, opportunities, precoordination and preparation?! Thanks for your attention!! Temporary public library in Louisiana after Hurricane Rita Credit: M McKnight

Hurricane Preparedness & Response for Florida Public Libraries Project Team Contributors Charles R. McClure Director, Information Institute Joe Ryan Project Manager Charles C. Hinnant Assistant Director, Information Institute

More Detailed Information Available on the Project Web Site: http://www.ii.fsu.edu/hurricanes/ The Information Institute gratefully acknowledges the support and assistance provided by the Florida Catastrophic Storm Risk Management Center, at Information Use Management & Policy Institute 142 Collegiate Loop, P.O. Box 3062100, Tallahassee, FL 32306-2100 Telephone 850.645.5683 Fax 850.644.4522

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