Batteries, Bottled Water and Libraries

With the Northeast coast of the United States still recovering from Hurricane Sandy and Tropical Storm Karen expected to made landfall along the Gulf Coast on Saturday, disaster relief organizations are finding it easier than usual to make their case for emergency preparedness. Plan your escape route now, they say, and be sure to stock up on necessities like bottled water, batteries, portable radios, generators, and other emergency items.

For libraries, the prospect of a natural disaster raises concerns about damage to physical facilities and materials and the potential for service disruption. But it can also represent an opportunity of sorts–the opportunity to serve as a shelter and thereby increase its value to, and profile within, the community it serves. A recent article in the New York Times discusses how libraries are fulfilling this role and becoming what reporter Michael Kimmelman calls “our de factor community centers.”

Is your library or information center prepared for a disaster? SLA’s Emergency Preparedness & Recovery Advisory Council (EPRAC) co-sponsored a presentation on this topic at SLA 2013. Visit EPRAC’s Web page and click on the links to the presentation materials as well as the SLA resource guide on disaster planning and recovery.

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