SLA Crisis Action Plan by rul15579


									                               SLA Crisis Action Plan
                        SLA Task Force on Natural Disasters
                     Praveena Raman, Bobbi Weaver, Jeanie Fraser
                                            May 2006

Disaster response training and preparedness for citizens started in earnest after the Loma Prieta
and Northridge earthquakes and with the establishment of the Community Emergency Response
Team (CERT) program in 1985. After September 11, 2001, disaster response planning assumed
National importance for both natural and man made disasters. The recent spate of natural
disasters that have occurred world wide from the tsunami in Asia to hurricanes Katrina, Rita and
Wilma in the U.S. to the earthquake in South Asia have heightened the library community’s
awareness of having contingency plans and preparing for disaster response. Lessons learned from
these various disasters have played an important role in outlining the various steps in the planning
process. Libraries not only need to prepare themselves, their collections, staff and patrons for
disaster response and recovery but should also have a plan in place for assisting the community
with information needs during a crisis.

The object of this plan is to make librarians be aware of situations that could endanger
collections, suggest ways to protect collections, help in establishing guidelines to manage
disaster response and recovery project and give purpose and direction to staff in a time of crisis
and potential chaos. This plan will also provide a current list of resources that can be used to
assist with disaster recovery and reduce the actual damage as much as possible. It will help
provide a structure on which to base a regular staff training program for disaster preparation and
reduce response time in an emergency situation.

The focus of this plan is on natural disasters (earthquakes, fire, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes,
winter storms, avalanches, landslides, volcanoes and mold) and can be used as a guide by any
library. It is divided into four sections under each of which there is information regarding the
steps that SLA as an organization, SLA Chapters, Individual Libraries and Individual Members
can take to prepare themselves to mitigate a disaster.

The Action Plan is organized into the following sections:
            •   Planning,
            •   Preparation,
            •   Response
            •   Recovery
            •   Sample checklists and plans
            •   Lessons Learned Survey Results
            •   Contact list of Experts
             •   Glossary
             •   References

 Application of this Action Plan
 This plan not only serves as a guide to help and promote preparedness but also is a source of
 information to form collaborations with local and national disaster response agencies. This action
 plan serves as a guide to prepare individual libraries for disaster response and recovery and also
 provides information on the various ways some libraries might be able to help the community in
 recovery efforts after a disaster. The plan has also suggested various ways the SLA organization
 and chapters can help their membership plan for disaster mitigation.

 Phases of the Crisis Action Plan
 This Crisis Action Plan is in two phases:
     • Phase I of the plan guides you in planning and preparing your staff and library for an
         efficient response and recovery from a natural disaster
     • Phase II of the plan guides you in planning and preparing to help the community in the
         recovery process after a disaster. Phase II of the plan should only go into effect after
         Phase I is completed satisfactorily.

 Crisis Action Plan Phase I
 Disaster planning in libraries is often neglected as their occurrence is not very common.
 However recent natural crises have shown the vulnerability of libraries and how a disaster plan
 could have minimized the effects of the recent disasters. Libraries can start preparing to mitigate
 the effects of a disaster by having a plan. In the Special Library Association, though
 preparedness can be different at the various levels, the steps taken to create a disaster plan are

 In conjunction with this plan we encourage you to read Kahn, Miriam, Disaster
 Prevention and Response for Special Libraries: An Information Kit, Washington, DC:
 Special Libraries Association,1995 which is available full text online on SLA website.

A.   Planning:
 To create an effective disaster plan:
              • Learn and understand the type of disaster that might affect you.
              • Create a disaster team
              • Assess the risk in your establishment
              • Establish an effective model for communication
              • Understand the vulnerabilities
              • Have a plan for evacuation
              • Know how to get hold of finances during an emergency
              • List and stock disaster supplies.
              • Have a Disaster Plan
              • Conduct disaster drills
                •   Keep the plan updated and current

B. Preparation:
  Preparation can vary at the different levels of the SLA organization but they are not mutually
  independent of each other.

  SLA Headquarters:
  The headquarters should not only prepare their staff but also actively form collaborations with
  other professional organizations and be a ready source of information and support for its

   For the membership:
              • Designate a Committee on Emergency Preparedness and Recovery to be the SLA
                focal point for guidance in times of crisis
              • Have a well maintained Crisis Action Plan on their website for members.
                Convert the word document into an HTML document with maintenance support.
              • Have links to sample disaster plans on their website according to type of disasters
                that different areas are prone to.
              • Prepare for small, large and wide area disasters.
              • Have information about disaster insurance for the different states in the United
              • Have workshops, trainings and panel presentation routinely at the Annual SLA
                Conference on Disaster preparedness and response.
              • Invite vendors to exhibit disaster preparedness supplies for Libraries and for
                individual preparation.
              • Ham radio communications have been tested time and again as the most reliable
                mode of communication during a disaster. Promote its use in the library
                arena. Organize a “cram” session (a one day session of learning the technical
                details at the end of which a test is taken and if it is done successfully a license
                is granted) as a workshop for getting a HAM license at the annual conference.
              • To maintain and enhance the IPANDA network and blog for exchanging disaster
                preparedness information (( )
              • Have a list of Historical Preservation organizations in different states. They
                have very similar preparation needs as libraries.
              • Have information about regional library organizations in the different States that
                member libraries could collaborate with for disaster preparedness
              • Create a list of experts or consultants by States on the SLA website with contact
              • Have a list of vendors and suppliers in the different states that libraries could tap
                into for help in recovery efforts.
              • Create a phone tree of libraries, from different states, large enough to be able to
                lend assistance to libraries affected by disasters in States other than their own..
              • Encourage Library service vendors to share their disaster preparedness plans with
                their customers in the event of a disaster that affects them and not their customers
              • Have information about different government grants and funding information
                that members could tap into.
              • Collaborate with Vendors for aid during disasters.
              • Make copies of the Emergency Response and Salvage Wheel by the Heritage
                 Emergency National Task Force available for all members

 For the profession:
             • Should form a collaboration with other Library professional organizations for
                 sharing of information and resources e.g American Library Association has a
                 Disaster Preparedness information with resources and services in different states
                 and sample plans. -
             • Forming a collaboration with the various associations would also create a strong
                 lobbying body for government funds and grants for disaster preparedness that
                 libraries could tap into.
             • Form an alliance with Library organizations worldwide to share information and
                 resources for disaster mitigation.

For their staff (at the headquarters) they should:
Educate themselves about the kind of disaster that they are prone to, asses the risks of their
physical location and create a disaster plan which will include a Disaster team having specific
responsibilities in the preparation, response and recovery phases.
The team should consist of

                      Team Leader (either the CEO or someone appointed by the CEO) –
                      Conducts regular meetings of the disaster team, makes sure the disaster
                      plan is kept current, builds a relationship with agencies who would help in
                      the recovery process, coordinates training for staff in disaster preparation
                      e.g. emergency preparedness training given by local Fire departments and
                      making sure there is an evacuation plan in place.
                      Communications Manager – coordinates a good disaster communication
                      system which includes using robust alternate modes of communications like
                      having Ham radio operators. Creates a phone tree of staff members who
                      could help during a disaster.
                      Facilities manager – keeps a copy of the blue print of the building and gets
                      the building regularly inspected for safety e.g. having smoke alarms and
                      sprinkler systems in place.
                      Securities Manager – creates an evacuation team; with the team creates an
                      evacuation procedure for the building; conducts regular disaster drills which
                      at the minimum practices the evacuation procedures and for a complete
                      preparation will practice a couple of scenarios. The security person also
                      will stock and maintain disaster supplies.
                      Accountant – will keep track of financial resources and ensures and
                      maintains disaster insurance coverage
                      Human Resource representative – maintains a list of staff and their
                      contact information, keeps compensation information current and also
                      ensures there is an employee assistance program in place to help in a crisis.
                      Public Relations Manager– will have a list of media contacts and form a
                      relationship with different media groups.
                      Systems Manager– ensures backing up of computers and servers regularly;
                      arranges for the back-up discs to be stored offsite at a storage facility.

SLA Chapters:
Your main role is to bring awareness of disaster mitigation to your membership, actively promote
disaster preparedness, be a resource for your membership for disaster information needs and
promote collaborations across your membership as well as with libraries in other geographical
areas. Chapters can:
             • Alert members to the IPANDA portal as the point of contact in a crisis. Make
                sure they are aware of the information resources available there. Link to it from
                their chapter website
             • Disseminate information to members about the types of Natural disasters that can
                affect the area.
             • Prepare for small, large and wide area disasters
             • Form a Disaster Preparedness volunteer team that will be in communication with
                member libraries and with SLA nationally.
             • Coordinate and offer disaster preparedness and response training and workshops.
             • Have a list of Community Emergency Response Training in the different cities
                (they are usually free for residents) and also the various acronyms that these
                teams go by e.g. CERT, NERT and so on. Promote these free trainings as the
                skills learned (cribbing, fire dousing and so on) there would help in individual
                personal preparation as well as having a trained staff in the libraries.
             • Maintain a list of vendors and suppliers with contact information in your area or
                region that members could tap into during the recovery phase. Keep it current.
             • Maintain a list of experts with contact information for consultation.
             • Develop a phone tree for mutual aid and support in the area.
             • Promote collaborations between member libraries especially for collections
             • Develop a robust communication system and promote the use of Ham radios
                which have a track record of being the only mode of communication in the
                aftermath right after a disaster. Also have other communication systems in place
                for communication during the recovery phase.
             • Encourage library service vendors (database vendors, document delivery vendors
                and so on) to share their disaster preparedness plans and back up systems in place
                in case they are in a wide-area or large scale disaster.
             • Organize training workshops and panel discussions at Chapter meetings.
             • Organize field trips to libraries that have a good preparation plan and to see the
                different steps that are in place as part of the preparation.
             • Promote a calendar of events or workshops offered by other organizations either
                to help in preservation of collections or to prepare membership.
             • Have a calendar of community disaster drills that the association could
                participate in to hone in their skills
             • Have a list of library related as well as personal supplies on their website.
             • Promote collaborations with other types of libraries present in the area like public
                libraries, hospital/medical libraries, academic libraries, school libraries besides
                other corporate or special libraries.
             • Consult with area First Responders like the fire department for training and
             • Make copies of the Emergency Response and Salvage Wheel by the Heritage
                Emergency National Task Force available to all members.
Individual Libraries:
To prepare for a natural disaster some of the preparation steps common to any disaster are:

        •   Know the type of natural disaster that might affect your area.
        •   Assess the risks that your library is exposed to.
        •   Draw up a Disaster Response Plan with information needed to prepare the library
            staff members and your collection for response and recovery in the event of a
            disaster. Don’t start from scratch. Many sample plans are already available for
            various disasters on the Internet as well as in books. There are also sample plans in
            the appendix at the end. Borrow ideas from these and modify according to your
            needs. If your Library is part of a corporation or of a larger institution know the
            parent organization’s disaster response plan and see how the library will fit into the
            larger scheme of things. Collaborate and partner with other departments.
        •   Create a Disaster Response Team having a core set of staff members having
            primary response responsibilities for each of the response phases and also have a
            back up team.
        •   Have an evacuation plan and communicate it to staff
        •   Plan for large, small and wide area disasters.
        •   Have copies of the Emergency Response and Salvage Wheel by the Heritage
            Emergency National Task Force
        •   Incorporate a communications policy. Create a phone tree that should be activated
            only in response to a disaster.
        •   In recent disasters Ham Radio has played a vital part in reliable and successful
            communication effort during response and recovery. Encourage staff members to get
            the training and license required to operate a Ham Radio. If you are part of an
            institution or a corporation identify other employees who might already be a licensed
            ham radio operator. This is a very popular hobby for people during normal times and
            some companies also have Ham radio clubs.
        •   Have information about insurance and finance current and handy. If part of a
            Corporation or a bigger organization find out about the insurance and financial
            arrangements in the event of a disaster. Include a rider for business interruption or
            extra expenses?
        •   Have disaster supplies ready both for the collection and for staff. Sample lists are
            given in the appendix.
        •   Know the role of the security and facilities staff during a potential disaster.
        •   Encourage all staff to go through a disaster response training. In nearly all cities
            across the United States the local Fire Department offers free Disaster Preapredness
            training called variously as CERT (Community Emergency Response Training),
            NERT (Neighborhood Emergency Response Training).
        •   Also know the limitations of your staff.
        •   Coordinate disaster response drills regularly, practice response phases, evaluate the
            plan and revise it if necessary
        •   Do not expect all your staff to behave or respond during a disaster exactly as they
            have been trained. Have contingency plans and back-ups in place.
        •   Build relationships with professional recovery agents in the
            area/Corporation/Institution– Corporate or Institution Security/Safety departments,
            Fire Department, Amercian Red Cross and so on
        •   Have confidentiality agreements in place for contractors
        •   Make sure copies of Contracts are kept ready in case they are needed for recovery
            during a disaster
        •   Have a list of predesignated contractors
        •   List of three acceptable disaster response/drying companies in case bids are needed
            for recovery work
        •   Have one voice to media – public relations liaison or Public Information
        •   Have a planned response to donations from community
        •   Protecting computer resources
                • House files on a computer in a remote location.
                • Devise an organization-sponsored blog to store important contact
                     information to keep employees apprised of developments. Although
                     regular internet access may not be available, people will likely have access
                      to computers at a library location when they have relocated to a safe area.
                • Use drives for backup rather than tape, as it is easier to recover data
                       from water-damaged drives than from damaged tape.
                • Store portable data in a remote location or in a secure container such
                       as a bank’s safety deposit box.

Below are some preparedness tips according to particular disasters (this is in addition to the
general preparation tips listed above that should be done for any disaster) :

    •   Earthquakes:
        Earthquakes strike suddenly, without warning and can occur at any time of the year and
        any time of the day or night. Preparing for an earthquake -
                         Identify safe places in the library and in the building, under a table or
                         desk, against an interior wall away from windows, bookcases or tall
                         Bolt bookcases and tall furniture to the wall
                         Strap computers, televisions or video equipment and brace or anchor
                         heavy objects
                         Secure books as they can become missiles during an earthquake. Try to
                         shelve heavy books on the lower shelves.
                         Do not have open shelves in the offices. Have strong latches in the
                         cabinets to ensure they remain shut during a quake.
                         Heavy pictures should be braced against the wall and hung away from
                         seating areas
                         Overhead lighting fixtures should also be braced.
                         Flexible pipe fittings should be installed to avoid gas or water leaks.
                         Cracked walls and foundations should be repaired
                         Staff and patrons should be informed about the earthquake plan and staff
                         should be trained to know what to do when an earthquake occurs.
                         Earthquake drills should be performed periodically.
    •   Fires
        Fires can occur either as a result of other natural crises like earthquakes or tornadoes or as
        wild fires. Educate yourself about the types of fires that a library is prone to, the various
        sprinkler systems that are available and the capabilities of smoke detectors and fire alarm
    Preparation tips for fires:
                      Make sure smoke detectors, fire alarms and sprinklers are installed and
                     working. Check them periodically
                     Have fire extinguishers installed in different areas (and
                     floors/departments if applicable) if not already present.
                     Have staff trained on using fire extinguishers
                     Find out who the fire marshalls are in your area of the
                     corporation/institution. Appoint from your staff if there are no fire
                     marshalls already there or if you are in a stand alone library.
                     Do not store chemicals or other cleaning/combustible materials near a
                     heat source or in a closed area.
                     Have electrical wiring checked regularly, maybe once a quarter. Get the
                     library inspected for frayed or exposed wiring. Be careful of using space
                     heaters. They are a fire hazard.
                     Have a fire escape and meeting plan.
                     Conduct annual fire drills to test the plan out.

    Preparation tips for Wild Fires:

•   Floods
    Floods can happen anywhere in the United States. This is one disaster that libraries
    experience often either due to the force of nature or man-made errors or failures. The
    preparation effort for response and recovery in either case are the same. This is also a
    disaster that can have an advance warning which can help in mitigating the destruction.
    To prepare for a flood:
                     If you are part of an institution or corporation work with your facilities
                     department and find out if you are in a flood prone area. If you ar ein
                     one then find out if floodgates/floodwalls have been installed, if the
                     parking lots and sidewalks have been made with porous concrete and
                     other flood prevention strategies have been put in place. If the outside of
                     the library has been prepared to reduce flooding then the chances of
                     water seeping into the library have also been reduced.
                     If you have prior warning:
                          • Turn off utilities
                          • Move collections, computers, and other valuable objects to an
                              area that is high enough to be out of reach of flood waters.
                          • Make sure staff and patrons are also evacuated to higher ground.
•   Hurricanes
    To prepare for hurricanes:
                    Plan an evacuation route
                    Have shutters attached to all the windows as they provide the best
                    Before the season starts trim back the branches from trees outside the
                    Make sure you are covered by Flood insurance.

•   Mold
       Molds in libraries are not uncommon and can occur due to damp and dark storage or
       shelving areas or as a result of a water leak or flood.
                        If the area is susceptible to mold then lower the humidity and control
                        Prevent condensation and leave HVAC on around the clock.
                        Avoid carpeting where there is constant moisture.
                        Find out and have a contract with a licensed firm to avoid a mold
   •   Tornadoes
       Some points for planning and help in a quick response, important in surviving a tornado,
                       Have a place in the library designated as a shelter for both staff and
                       Educate yourself and staff about tornado danger signs and the difference
                       between a watch and a warning.
                       Store and maintain disaster supplies and conduct annual tornado drills.
   •   Tsunamis
       Some important points to consider while planning for a tsunami:
                       If your library is located in an area that could be in danger of tsunamis
                       find out how far form the coast you are situated and how high above sea
                       level you are.
                       Familiarize yourself and your staff with the tsunami warning signs. If
                       you feel an earthquake and are near the coast the occurrence of a tsunami
                       is a great possibility.
                       Staff and patrons should know how to respond to a tsunami warning
                       Plan the evacuation route and conduct practice drills.
                       Have disaster supplies ready.
   •   Winter Storms
                       Familiarize yourself and staff about winter storm warnings.
                       Have good snow removal equipment, caulk doors and windows, install
                       storm doors and keep pipes from freezing.
                       Purchase a reliable and safe heaters for emergencies.
   •   Volcanoes
       Volcanoes can give rise to other disasters like earthquakes, landslides and floods.
       Libraries near active volcanoes need to prepare not only for eruptions but also for the
       other disasters.
                        Besides an evacuation plan pairs of goggles and breathing mask for staff
                        members and extras for patrons should be added to disaster supplies.
                        Comply with evacuation instructions before an eruption.

Individuals need to prepare both personally as well as a staff member in the library.
Many of the preparation are common to both.

   •   Prepare physically and mentally for the possibility of a disaster.
   •   Take the free Community Emergency Response Team training offered free of charge by
       the local fire department
•   Buy, collect and maintain a list of personal disaster preparedness supplies – water (1
    gal/per person/per day), food (not too salty), extra pair of clothes, shoes, blanket and so
    on (a good list is on the FEMA website; Are you ready?
•   Have a back pack as a grab-and-go bag with disaster supplies (similar to the above list) in
    the office or car.
•   Both in the office and at home secure heavy items and books if you live in an earthquake
    prone area
•   Have a disaster plan at home and get to know the plan at work
•   Conduct/participate in disaster drills periodically both at home and at work. Most
    communities also have disaster preparation drills for CERT trained members.
•   Have an out-of-state contact for emergencies
•   Make sure of insurance coverage at home
C. Response :
The response given here is general tips for any disaster. Response for particular natural
disasters is described in detail in Halstead, Deborah et al, “Disaster Planning: a how to
do it manual for librarians with planning templates on CD-ROM” 2005.

SLA Organization:
If the disaster is not in Virginia then
    •   Mobilize the vendor response plan
    •   Have insurance information ready for the affected area
    •   Mobilize experts who can help in the recovery stage
    •   Have a donation drive, collect the needed material and then deliver it at the
        appropriate time

Individual Libraries:
    •   Establish a command center for base of operations
           o Clear chain of command
           o Communication is critical to success
           o Safety of personnel is of the utmost importance
           o Decision-making matrix should be agreed upon in advance
    •   Assessment and documentation of disaster
           o Type and extent of damage
                       Floor plans with notations on type and extent of damage
                           • Make special note of materials that are especially water or
                              heat sensitive that may have incurred collateral damage
                       Information systems
                           • Condition of hardware, software, peripherals, and backups
           o Photos and/or video to document damage
                       Video cameras are good because you can describe what you are
                       seeing as you create a document of the damage
           o Re-evaluate collection salvage priorities
                       High Priority: Collections most frequently used, vital records
                       without backups, irreplaceable and most important, collection
                       materials critical to ongoing operations
                       Medium Priority: Important, but replaceable with costs exceeding
                       salvage expenses
                       Low Priority: May have high monetary value, but are low in other
           o Deploy staff needed for response and recovery
           o Contact any consultants and/or commercial services needed
           o Establish logistics for packout, if needed
o Ensure that the building, collections, equipment and contents are secure
          Cardkey control
          Closed circuit cameras
          Special materials
          Computers and systems
o Retrieve Insurance contract and claim forms, contact insurance carrier and
  set the claims in motion.
D. Recovery:
The recovery given here is general tips for any disaster. Recovery after particular natural
disasters is described in detail in Halstead, Deborah et al, “Disaster Planning: a how to
do it manual for librarians with planning templates on CD-ROM” 2005
Individual Libraries:
           •   Assess damage to print materials
   .           If the materials in the library have sustained damage, the library’s staff
               must determine if the items should be repaired or replaced, and how to
               go about doing so. These decisions are likely to be based on the extent of
               the damage suffered.

               ►Undamaged: Move to a safe location
               ►Minor Damage:
                      --Determine if items can be repaired
                      --For water damaged materials, act quickly to prevent mold
                        damage for partially wet books
                           ♦Stand books upright and open on a large table and fan-dry
                           ♦When books are dried, flatten books with bricks. Put layer of
                            dry paper between bricks and dried books.
                           ♦Leather-bound books may need to have binding replaced
               ►Intermediate Damage: For water damage, if mold has already
                developed in books—
                          ♦Immediately separate moldy books from books that have not
                              been affected
                           ♦Dry volumes as soon as possible. Books with coated paper
                             will not likely be salvageable at this point.
                           ♦Have books professionally fumigated with Methyl
                               Bromide to kill organisms and mold spores
                           ♦In a well-ventilated area with a protective mask and gloves,
                             go through volumes and brush off mold debris from every
                             page. Compressed air could be used while brushing the
                             debris, but this process may damaged weakened volume pages.
                           ♦Have the materials rebound.
               ►Severe Damage: Discard unsalvageable items. Provide information
                about discarded items to Technical Services so that the catalog records
                can be amended. Search for availability of replacements:
                      --Books in Print: negotiate for discounted replacement costs with
                      --Books Out of Print:: Search out of print book sources for titles
                        needing replaced
                               ♦ABE Books:

Also, consider posting requests for replacement volumes on
librarian listservs, as another library may have a duplicate
that it can spare.

♦Check for alternative format: Items may already be in
 collection in a non-print format. If not and item is not
  available in print, check alternate formats.

   Microform:                         Print on Demand:
   --AcqWeb’s Microform               --ProQuest:
   available at                       products_umi/bod/
   http://acqweb.library.             Unlimited Publishing micro.html    LLC: http://www.
   --Center for Research Libraries:
   --Law Library Microform
Sample Plans:

   •   Earthquakes:
                      University of California, Berkeley UCB Disaster Response Plan
                      University of California-Davis Disaster Plan (PDF)
                      Stanford University Libraries Disaster Plan

   •   Hurricanes:
                      University of Florida

   •   Fire, Flood, Tornadoes & earthquakes
                      James Madison University Library Disaster Plan
General Plans
                      Disaster Mitigation Planning Assistance Website. Joint project of
                      Michigan State University Libraries and the Center for Great Lakes
                      Culture. Contains examples of disaster plans, information on recovery
                      techniques, and links to regional conservation and preservation centers.
                      Stanford university -
Lessons Learned Survey Results:
    Lessons Learned from Recent Disasters on SLA Activities
             SLA Task Force on Natural Disasters
                             Pam Osborne, Mercy Corps

Executive Summary:
Overall thirty-six people responded to the online survey; four telephone interviews were
conducted. The most appropriate SLA response is professional to professional. Knowing
that SLA was trying to help was important & worthwhile. People weren’t thinking about
SLA; family, friends, & property were their primary concerns. SLA did what it could, but
with all lines of communication down, there was little they could do. The most important
thing for SLA to do is help people prepare ahead of time. If SLA is going to have any
helpful resources, such as sample disaster plans, lists of experts, etc., they need to
make people aware of them now; in an emergency people will only use the places they
have traditionally gone for information because communication is so difficult. SLA should
work now on a cooperative plan with other organizations to avoid duplication of effort in
a time of crisis. It could be that the most effective time that SLA can help is several
months after a disaster; there are two special libraries affected by Hurricane Katrina that
would still appreciate SLA’s involvement. The most meaningful benefit to SLA in
attempting to help is the people connection.

Section I: Your Experience
1. Which of the disasters, if any, were you involved in and what was your
    Of the 36 online respondents, 17 had been involved in a disaster somewhere in the
    US. The four telephone interviewees were all affected by Katrina.

2. Did you have a written emergency/disaster plan?
    8 respondents had a disaster plan.

3. If yes, how well did it work?
     Four answered “well;” three answered “poorly.”

   • Even if you have one and have a good one and have practiced it, you never
     implement it the way it is written because it never plays out the way you expect.
     For example, you can plan for where to move a collection and how to protect, but
     what happens if you don’t have physical access to the collection for a month after
     an emergency?
   • The disaster plan didn’t plan for being without power for six weeks at the hottest
     time of the year.
   • It’s important to have a disaster plan and go through the drills, but it doesn’t
     substitute for being able to think on your feet.
   • Tulane university libraries had good disaster plans and had practiced them. But
     the university hired a disaster recovery firm who came in and didn’t follow the
     plan the librarians had worked out; the firm didn’t know how to handle the
       collections. There was no coordination between the plan and those called in to
       implement it.

4. What would you do differently?
    “Phone all staff at home to check on them and alert them that it will be a few days
    before we were allowed back on campus.” “Cover shelves with plastic.” “Sand bag
    the building.”

5. What actions were you aware of that SLA took in response to the disaster?
    • Discount on membership renewal (11)
    • IPANDA portal on SLA website (10)
    • Negotiated vendor discounts for affected libraries (10)
    • SLA blog (7)
    • Book/library materials/computer shipments (4)
    • Temporary housing (3)
    • Temporary job (2)

   • People aren’t thinking about SLA. It’s so far down the list. Work colleagues and
     workplace worries are secondary.
   • Dav & others in the SLA leadership got in touch with her within 24 hours via
     email so she knew SLA cared.
   • People were aware that the blog site was up and were aware of offers of help but
     couldn’t respond—either because they didn’t have power or because they had
     too many other things on their minds.
   • Knowing that the attempt was being made was helpful.
   • The SLA message was going out to people. of a socioeconomic level who were
     going to come out OK. The hurricane wasn’t the kind of social leveler that a
     tsunami or earthquake would be.
   • SLA’s effort was professional to professional. That’s what is most appropriate.
   • SLA was remarkable. They emailed her a number of times and followed up with
     her. Her chapter sent $500 to Red Cross. She was trying to contact all her
     chapter members; tag teaming & networking helped a lot—some people knew
     that other people were OK so she could cross them off her list. You couldn’t get
     on phones for awhile.

6. What actions were most helpful?
    • Book/library materials/computer shipments (7)
    • IPANDA portal on SLA website (6)
    • Discount on membership renewal (5)
    • Negotiated vendor discounts for libraries affected (4)
    • SLA blog (3)
    • Temporary job (2)
    • Temporary housing (2)

7. What actions were least helpful?
    • Temporary job (4)
    • SLA blog (3)
    • Discount on membership renewal (3)
   •   Negotiated vendor discounts for libraries affected (2)
   •   IPANDA portal on SLA website (1)
   •   Book/library materials/computer shipments (0)

   • Blog didn’t help those who didn’t have internet access or power.

8. In what ways might SLA have been more helpful to you either professionally
and/or personally?
    • Help librarians create disaster plans. Perhaps a weekly or monthly WebEx where
       groups of librarians "sit" down together and create the plans.
    • I think a blog is a good thing, but during and right after a disaster, it wouldn't be
       the first thing on my mind.
    • More postal communication for Asia. Just not for Disaster areas, but what about
       war torn or political situations (Nepal) where it is difficult for members to
       communicate on a regular basis.
    • Creating a list of where in the region resources are available and the full contact
       information. Set up a toll free number to call for help
    • Set up a match-making service. Affected people could say "I need this" and
       others could respond to a specific need - sort of like a wedding gift registry.
    • I never looked to SLA as a resource in a time of true disaster. (2)
    • I did use SLA's online directory to contact friends and colleagues in the affected
       areas to ask about then and offer whatever help I could.
    • You are assuming we had internet access to find out about these things. I had no
       idea any of these things existed. And you assume I had time to look around for
    • Technical assistance - preservation/conservation consultation
    • Volunteering is wonderful but not always possible for safety reasons.
    • SLA did the best they could. With power out & no internet access, what else
       could they do?
    • People he had met from SLA were helpful rather than the organization itself. Sent
       a request to a listserv that he knew of. Needed acid free boxes & supplies. Got
       some donated from a couple of librarians.
    • Knowing who to call. Medical librarians were good resources. A list of
       professionals willing to give advice would have helped.
    • List of reference items related to disaster. Didn’t know there was a huge diabetic
       population in New Orleans—would have helped to know.

9. From your experience what is the best means for SLA to communicate with
members affected by a disaster?
    • E-mail (3)
    • Blog (3)

   • Communication isn’t possible (6)
   • Only comes back slowly and not linearly. Sent messages out over first couple
     weeks and counted number of bounce-back messages. Anyone who was directly
     affected was thinking of family, friends, property and weren’t concerned about
   •   As soon as people could start getting email, the communication listservs that
       were already in place were used a lot but not new ones.
   •   Messages that came from her on the chapter listserv were considered work-
       related, not personal, and people took an “I’ll deal with it later” response.
   •   When it comes back, it comes back up on a personal level rather than
   •   There’s not much SLA can do; it has to stay out of the way of the response effort.
   •   Didn’t gave personal email addresses so that made it slower to get in touch with
       people. People were dealing with personal email before work email.

10. What opportunities do you see for SLA to assist other people affected by a
    • I think the most important thing for SLA to do is help people prepare ahead of
       time, not just react afterwards.
    • Set up a match-making service. Affected people could say "I need this" and
       others could respond to a specific need - sort of like a wedding gift registry.
    • SLA can assist non-librarians by helping their librarian members get member
       libraries back in order and functioning.
    • Coordinate resources and provide one contact who can then field the questions
       to the appropriate resource. In a disaster communication is unstable so the least
       amount of steps to reach resources is the most useful
    • Providing information on demand seems the most appropriate.
    • We still need help here. Hurricane Katrina is not over on the Mississippi Gulf
    • Information Outlook articles on lessons learned from those professionals directly
       affected, what's happened to the libraries and info on ongoing efforts and needs
       of those libraries
    • Six to twelve months after a disaster is when library volunteers might be more
       helpful because collection damage is only being assessed now. (3)
    • A good way to do it is through Divisions—the Museums Arts, Humanities Division
       is very helpful in giving advice on how to deal with special collections.
    • Grace period for dues—esp. if people have lost their jobs. They should offer
       more grants & awards to travel to annual meeting.
    • Having more info available about resources before disaster happens. First thing
       he was thinking about was who to go to for help—the answer wasn’t SLA. Web
       portal to get you in touch with donated materials, researching, etc. would have
       been helpful, but would have needed to know about it before the emergency; it’s
       so hard to communicate in an emergency that you aren’t going to waste it on
       something that you don’t already know exists.(3)
    • Donations of medical books might be useful in some situations; need paper ones
       because there’s no electricity to use the electronic ones
    • Create a “Google Answers” type of service without charging money

11. If SLA had established a call center where people could email their information
needs to someone at SLA HQ and have them forwarded to a member who had
volunteered to answer questions in emergency situations, do you think such a call
center would have been helpful to you?
    • 14 out of 19 survey respondents answered yes.
    • Interview—yes (1)
   • Wouldn’t have gotten any traffic. SLA just isn’t on people’s minds as a place to
     go for information. People will only use the places they have traditionally gone for
   • The student call effort that was tried had lots of volunteers but no questions.
   • No--couldn’t have called or emailed questions. In theory it could have been

12. If yes, how would you have used it? What would you have wanted to know?
    • Information about other librarians & extent of library damage (2)
    • What was happening in the region—was hard to get accurate information
    • When can I return? What are the health risks? Where are my pets?
    • Used Google Maps to show the flood depth in various neighborhoods to people.
        People wanted to know how deep the water had gotten in their area.
    • What SLA was doing to help (2)
    • How the rest can assist (2)
    • How to arrange shipments globally that is co-coordinated by the SLA, possibly
        using a trust fund to provide the $$$$.
    • Research information for stories on deadlines.
    • The best-laid disaster plans still need help -- knowing who was available where --
        could be cerebral or physical help.
    • Not just send a check to a vague entity, but rather help our colleagues in our SLA
    • Set up a system of triage to move requests through the system as quickly as
        possible with a feedback mechanism
    • I answered yes to avoid answering no so that this possibility would continue to be
    • Yes, availability of sources and assistance. Even having access to a network of
        information when you starting work again would be helpful.
    • Find out where the Internet was working in affected area. Phone numbers of
        companies - without the Web it's hard to contact vendors of all kinds.
    • It could be used to locate other staff members or to find a library to use near
        where we'd evacuated. Possibly to get help from an 'expert' who'd been through
        this before.

13. In your opinion, what actions should be avoided by SLA in responding to a
    • Blanket statements.
    • Ensure that KYC research is thoroughly investigated before supplying $$$$ to
        anyone. Ensure that the supply of $$$$ is followed up by a report of work
        undertaken and the success of the work.
    • Don't expect too much from the person involved in the disaster. It is all they can
        do to get to work so anything requiring their detailed attention will not work.
    • Taking sides politically about a disaster (2)
    • A lot of donated goods go to waste because they are duplicates or not needed at
    • Duplication of effort. Providing inappropriate response especially those that are
        culturally inappropriate. Therefore, find the appropriate NGO or other group to
   •   Proceeding without getting input from the librarians impacted by the disaster.
   •   Liability issues
   •   To get in the way of help for people which is always what is needed first &
       foremost in any disaster. To recognize SLA would have an ancillary support role.
   •   For SLA to offer support services by personnel who are insufficiently trained to
       handle true disasters because times of crisis are highly emotional.
   •   Arranging temporary housing sounds like a bad idea.
   •   When I gutted my house, I threw out too much stuff. I think the impulse to do too
       much too soon is an issue. I'd somehow try to wait to see what is most needed
       by members/libraries.

14. What are the obstacles for SLA being able to respond more effectively?
    • Geography
    • Co-ordination on a global scale.
    • Have a designated action plan for response (and a person or team that knows it
      is their job) and implement it immediately.
    • The national news (in US) does not give a complete picture of events. For
      example, Wilma is still impacting Florida, but only Katrina is getting coverage by
      the media.
    • Not having adequate resources (personnel and things as well as a tested
      mechanism) A well designed response system is needed to make any impact
    • Communication paths and/or technology issues -- downed phone lines,
      inoperable cell phone towers, computer availability at the disaster site, etc. (4)
    • Copyright, in terms of setting up a center
    • It has a 9 to 5 culture for the most part.
    • SLA's overburdening bureaucracy and need to do more talking than using their
      hands to help.
    • Not knowing what's happening on the ground. Different listservs may have had
      specific info and if it was available, info was buried on SLA home page. Going by
      website info, it seems that ALA had a better handle on what was happening
      locally and shared that with membership.
    • People wanted to rescue collections. but nobody could get in.
    • Have to stay out of the way of the response effort of FEMA, Red Cross, etc.
      FEMA won’t let you into the area.
    • People don’t think about SLA. Isn’t the place to go for disaster information.
      They’d think of ALA first.

Section II: Blog
15. Immediately after Katrina, SLA set up a blog to help members & relay
information. How useful was it on a scale of 1-7 with 1 being “Very Useful” and 7
being “Not At All Useful?”
    • Very useful (2)
    • Moderately Useful (2)
    • Not useful (4)

   • SLA asked why she didn’t respond to their inquiries and didn’t go to the blog site.
     The answer is that it just wasn’t high on people’s minds.
   •   The blog wasn’t terribly useful. Didn’t address immediate needs of people in area
       who were dealing with personal, not professional, issues. Newspapers had blogs
       which were mainly opportunities for people to complain & vent.
   •   SLA should be offering professional support instead.
   •   Resource lists were useful—suppliers of archival boxes, wet collections advice,
       etc. rather than encouraging soul searching.
   •   Wasn’t high enough priority for first couple of weeks. Not time.

16. The blog also included information about resources that would be useful when
librarians are confronted with a natural disaster. How useful was this on a scale of
1-7 with 1 being “Very Useful” and 7 being “Not at All Useful?”
    • Very useful (3)
    • Moderately useful (5)
    • Not useful (4)

17. One of the ways the blog was used after Katrina was that SLA members could
find out the status of some of the Gulf Coast members and the condition of their
collections. How important was this on a scale of 1-7 with 1 being “Very Useful”
and 7 being “Not At All Useful?”
    • Very useful (8)
    • Moderately useful (1)
    • Not useful (6)

   • RSS feed to her In box would have been helpful.

Section III: Partnering
18. Other library associations and information entities provided assistance during
the disasters. Please indicate those groups whose efforts you were aware of at the
time of disaster and how you used their resources.
    • ALA (9)
    • MLA (1)
    • AALL (5)
    • IFLA (3)
    • None (7)
    • Local SLA chapters (1)
    • Statewide library associations (1)
    • ALA didn’t pull their New Orleans convention plans.

19. Explain how you used any of the professional library associations’ resources
during or after the time of the disaster.
    • I sent some of the resources to the Asian Chapter for them to read, and see if
       they could assist with the affected areas.
    • Researching best practices for things not covered in our plan.
    • Learning how we could help places worse off than us - what they could use and
    • To stay abreast of what was happening
   •   I did not use any other than SLA's online membership directory to get emails for
       those I thought were either living or working in lower Manhattan. Some of these
       contacts were vendors and not SLA members.
   •   I used AALL's blog to post info on our staff's whereabouts and what we knew of
       our situation. I'd have looked at SLA's blog if I'd known about it.
   •   Didn’t have any need for them.

20. What duplication of effort, if any, did you observe between SLA and other
professional organizations?
    • Don't know of any off hand, but think it would be great to have a joint group rather
      than three different groups.
    • Did not observe any but if there is not adequate coordination of effort there will
      be duplication of effort. However, in a major disaster some duplication of effort
      can be tolerated as organizations try to respond quickly
    • None (3)
    • There was a fair amount of duplication. Organizations need to remember not to
      expect too much from people in the affected area. Organizations that are outside
      of the disaster could work together so that they don’t create more confusion. She
      was getting messages from ALA, American Museum Association, American
      Records Management, etc. A more coordinated effort at the national level would
      be helpful. Triage could be done at the national level and then needs/questions
      could be sent to the appropriate organization.
    • Working with Red Cross could be a win-win. Work with each chapter to set up a
      plan in all areas of the country—the disasters would differ according to what area
      of the country the chapter was in.

21. Can you suggest ways in which SLA can work effectively with organizations
such as the Red Cross or Salvation Army to plan for information services during
future disasters?
    • Prepare in advance. Contact them and see what their needs are and prepare
       now for the future.
    • You would need a very detailed disaster recovery plan in place that could work
       across many different jurisdictions. It would also require an infrastructure and
       restoration plan.
    • Make contact with the right people in those organizations and let them know what
       SLA can provide and see how it fits with or complements what they can provide
       then take it from there
    • If the communications paths are available, set up computer stations at the
       disaster relief sites to help victims contact relatives and help medical staff find
       information If communication is not possible but delivery of materials is possible,
       arrange for emergency medical information like medical dictionaries and PDRs to
       be delivered
    • From my limited experience & observation Red Cross services cannot be
       touched in terms of connecting people with people. It has lots of experiences in
       this area. Once that is underway it does seem like information services would be
       important to provide.
    • Begin dialog with these bodies now to prepare for the next crisis. Take our cue
       from them, because they have the experience about what SLA can and should
   •   Rather than SLA decide on its own, get advice from disaster relief agencies.
       Then SLA should inform membership of what role it can play so when a disaster
       strikes, members know what Red Cross can do and what SLA can provide
   •   I saw the Red Cross and Salvation Army burdened with enough of their own
       problems of providing assistance. I only see organizations such as SLA assisting
       after the librarians are allowed to get back into their collections to access the
   •   Stop talking, start doing!!!
   •   Any type of wireless internet would be useful. And possibly providing PCs for use
       to check email.
   •   This is a wonderful idea and addresses a long-term response because SLA can
       be there when people are ready to look for help. The tendency is for
       organizations to be proactive, but it is better to say we’re here when you need us.
   •   50-100 laptops with cellular internet cards; 50 SAT phones with 50 volunteers in
       different cities that you could call for information, mainly to find out about family &

22. IPANDA has promoted a partnership between SLA and the World Computer
Exchange to provide computers to institutions outside North America. Would you
find this resource useful?
    • Yes (7)
    • No (4)
    • NA (7)

   • Not here. No power or cable service.

Section IV: Benefit to SLA
23. Do you think that the effort expended by SLA in this activity is beneficial to
SLA and its members?
    • Yes (17)
    • No (3)

   • People should do what they can to help others because it’s the right thing to do.
   • It gives good press, but it’s not the reason you do it. The Information Outlook
     article made SLA look really good, and she sent three copies to her provost.
   • It’s good for name recognition and makes SLA credible on a national level when
     talking to other organizations.

24. If so, give some examples of the benefits.
    • Increases awareness of resources available.
    • If SLA and other organizations of its kind cannot demonstrate its professionalism
        when disaster strikes, then who can? How do we rescue records and history that
        aren't electronically stored? That is one of the fundamental functions of the SLA
        as far I am concerned. It's not just the future we need to look at - it's also the past
        and getting back what could be potentially lost for the next generations.
•   Show that we are part of the international community of information professionals
    who care and are willing to help. Improves our profile in areas where we are not
    well known
•   Help us to learn as well about disaster response as well as disaster planning
•   Again, I think what SLA should be concentrating on is preparing its members
    NOW. Helping afterwards is made easier if member libraries are prepared ahead
    of time.
•   A number of librarian organizations have prepared templates for disaster plans,
    most of them listed on the SLA web site. An informal law librarians group I belong
    to prepared this plan and bibliography that is specific to law firms:
•   SLA members are passionate about sharing information and about the
    technologies used to accomplish the Worldwide Computer Exchange. Part of the
    WCE effort is to test the computers which will be distributed. Our membership is
    well-qualified for this.
•   Its important to let members know this is an area being investigated. Let
    members weigh in if they even want such services from SLA before SLA decides
    its services in this area need improvement.
•   Most meaningful benefit in my limited view is people connection
•   Vendor connection to online resources assuming physical/brick & mortar
    resources are unavailable
•   Membership retention with some cost scheme to retain affected member.
•   Provides direct connection between the association and members. Improves
    communications/connections among members in affected areas.
•   PR—what you organization can do for you. Keeps the members happy & helps
    the organization.
•   Being able to try & locate other librarians that he knew in the area.
Disaster: a hazardous event which affects a community in such an adverse way that essential social
structures and functions are disrupted.

Disaster Mitigation: separate and aggregate measures taken prior to or following a disaster to reduce
the severity of the human and material damage caused by it.

Disaster Preparedness: Measures consisting of plans and action programs taken to minimize loss of
life and damage, to organize and facilitate effective rescue and relief, and to rehabilitate after disaster.
These plans include forecasting and warning, the education and training of the public, organization and
management, including plans, training of personnel, the stockpiling of supplies and ensuring the needed
funds and other resources.

Disaster Response: Actions immediately after the emergency that provide temporary care for
people, collections and property and prevent avoidable casualties and property damage
Disaster Recovery: Actions taken after the emergency to return to normal operations
Large Scale Disaster: Anything with over 500 items affected
Small Scale Disaster: Anything under 500 volumes affected; often can be handled by staff on
Wide Area Disaster: Involves the entire institution, city, county or geographic area
Salvage: Actions taken to evacuate or retrieve collections and/or property from damaged areas
and “first aid” measures to stabilize collections
     The SLA Disaster Planning Portal has numerous articles, videos and websites that
     will help prepare fro disasters.

    Britt, Phillip. “Taking Steps for Disaster Recovery.” Information Today 22 (Oct.
    2005): 1 & 21.]

    Coates, Peter, “Rather That It Never Happened: Dealing with Mouldy Volumes,”
    Quarterly Bulletin NLSA 58 (2004): 91-92.

    Coates, Peter, “Arsonists Destroy High School Library,” School Library Journal
    (July 1989): 11

    Digital Libraries -- Coping with Disasters. Library Journal article by Roy Tennant in
    response to the events of September 11.

    Disaster Planning for Computers and Networks. Richard W. Boss . ALA Tech Notes. The
    focus is on digital disaster planning.

    Disaster Assistance. Northeast Document Conservation Center offers an emergency
    assistance program for institutions and individuals with damaged paper-based collections.
    Site includes a number of online Emergency Management Technical Leaflets

    Disaster Planning for Libraries and Archives: Understanding the Essential Issues. Paper
    written and presented by Dr Jan Lyall, Director, National Preservation Office for the Pan-
    African Conference on the Preservation and Conservation of Library and Archival
    Materials. 1993.

    Disaster preparedness and response. From CoOL, a project of the Preservation
    Department of Stanford University Libraries. CoOL is a library of conservation information
    of interest to those involved with the conservation of library, archives and museum

    Disaster Resources. ALA fact sheet with links to disaster preparedness web sites, and to
    information on training and to other resources, plus a select book bibliography.

    Emergency Response and Salvage Wheel - {Extremely Useful.
    Recommended for all libraries)

    FEMA –

    Farmer, Lesley S.J., “When Disaster Strikes ‘” Book Report15 (May/June 1996):
   Halstead, Deborah et al, Disaster Planning: a how-to-do-it manual for librarians
   with planning templates on Cd-ROM, 2005.

   Kahn, Miriam B, Disaster Response and Planning for Libraries, 2003

   Library -

   Lapnet (Los Angeles Preservation Network) list of Disaster supplies and suppliers
   for Libraries.

   National Archives -

National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA)
   Solinet -

   University of Maryland – Disaster Planning and Salvage Resources

   “Water Damage: Book Restoration Project Flow Chart.” In The Library Disaster
   Preparedness Handbook. Chicago: American Library Association, 1986
Crisis Action Plan Phase II:
This phase guides you in planning and preparing to help the community in the recovery process
after a disaster. Phase II of the plan should only go into effect after Phase I is completed

Community Response and Recovery in Disasters: The Library’s Role.
   A. Including disaster relief organizations in planning for information needs
      regarding disaster evacuees

The key to making the plan work is to create cooperative relationships with organizations
that traditionally provide shelter to evacuees of areas affected by natural disasters. These
relationships would most likely be effective if developed on a regional level. As part of
the planning process, representatives from regional units of SLA should establish
relationships with local chapters of the American Red Cross, Salvation Army, and other
nonprofit organizations who traditionally respond to disasters. In doing so, a plan for
disseminating needed information to evacuees could be established and the confusion that
was experienced during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina might be avoided in the

   B. Resources for Evacuees

       •    Money
           Information professionals could assist in fundraising efforts by compiling web
           sites with links to legitimate organizations collecting funds for relief efforts.
           Information professionals could also assist individuals in evaluating requests
           for funds to determine if the requests are coming from actual charities or scam

       •    Finding missing family members
           After Katrina, various databases and message boards were established to assist
           evacuees in locating missing loved ones. The information professional
           community could work with organizations such as the National Center for
           Missing & Exploited Children and regional law enforcement agencies to
           develop a database of missing and located adults and children.

       •    Finding missing companion animals
           During the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Petfinder [}
           had a database and listserv to assist in reuniting lost pets with evacuated
           guardians. On a local level, information professionals could work with
           regional humane societies to establish similar databases.

       •    Finding emergency housing
           There were various listservs established for offers and needs of emergency
           housing following Hurricane Katrina. In the future, information professionals
    should work with regional shelter organizations to develop a database of
    emergency shelter availabilities in the region.

•    Finding sources for clothing and food
    While money could help shelters address most of these issues, there were
    instances during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina where specialized items
    were needed and were not readily available. With reference to clothing, there
    was a large need for plus-sized items, but many of the donated clothing items
    were too small. In situations where evacuees are fleeing with only the clothes
    on their backs, it will be necessary to have additional clothes available rather
    immediately. During the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the National
    Association to Advance Fat Acceptance ( organized a
    clothing drive for plus-sized items. Other shelters also posted requests for
    plus-sized clothing donations. While the items did eventually arrive at
    shelters, it would be more efficient to have a database of specialized clothing
    sources. Many nonprofit organizations also operate thrift stores. Information
    professionals could work with these outlets in determining the availability of
    clothing in special sizes.

•    Finding emergency shelter for companion animals
    During the rescue effort after Hurricane Katrina, many pet guardians were
    reluctant to evacuate for fear of leaving their beloved pets in harm’s way.
    Although shelters in communities where people were being located (e.g.,
    Houston, other areas of Louisiana) did offer temporary shelter for pets of
    evacuees, authorities still forced many evacuees to leave their pets behind.
    This situation may have been avoided if authorities were aware of the
    temporary pet shelters. Information professionals could assist in developing a
    database of pet shelter locations, as well as area hotels that allow pets to stay in
    the rooms with their guardians. There are already some online databases
    listing pet-friendly hotels, such as

        ►People with Pets ( ; and
        ►Pets Welcome ( )]

    Accordingly, web technology could be used to create links to these existing
    web sites.

•    Providing access to news on the disaster situation
    The need for news is often greater during crisis situations. Evacuees need to
    know where they can go for assistance, when and if they can return to their
    homes, and health concerns that may arise due to the disaster. Again, due to a
    possible loss of electricity, internet and television may not be immediately
    available. However, plans to establish sources of news should be in place for
    areas to which the evacuees are temporarily relocated. Information
    professionals again should work with organizations responsible for the
    administration of emergency shelters before a disaster occurs.
►Access to the Internet
The lack of news resources was at issue during Hurricane Katrina. Rosa
Clemente described the conditions of one shelter in Baton Rouge in her
interview with DemocracyNow ( “For four
thousand people, there's only three TVs. For four thousand people there's
only three computers.” [“New Orleans Police Harass Independent
Journalist,” 16 Sept. 2005, available at] Until
electronic resources can be set up, there should be a system of print
notices and the dissemination of available print media.

►Essential health information
In his paper, Randall Kemp illustrates the need for the dissemination of
accurate information to disaster victims. Kemp discusses the 2004
flooding in India, Nepal and Bangladesh during which more than 1800
people died. Some of these deaths could be attributed to the victims’ lack
of access to information on shelter, food, and safe drinking water. Kemp
states that 161 people died from contaminated water, even though the
United Nations Children’s Fund shipped water treatment tablets.
Unfortunately, these individuals did not receive this life-saving
information. [Kemp, Randall B., “Identifying Information Bottlenecks
Between Natural Disaster Victims and Relief Organizations,” 3 Dec. 2004,
available at]

►News and vital information in foreign languages
Another factor to consider when disseminating information is that all
evacuees may not speak and/or adequately understand English. Many
areas that are frequent sites of natural disasters also have a significant
number of immigrants from Spanish-speaking countries. In her interview,
Rosa Clemente addresses the plight of the non-English-speaking evacuees
staying at the Baton Rouge shelter she visited:

    They can only go on the computer not to access websites but to
    download FEMA forms. Then they download these FEMA forms, but
    many people are illiterate. There's no one there to help them. There
    were no Spanish language translators although there's a sizable Latino
    population in there. There's a Filipino and Vietnamese population,
    and no translators for them.

.” [“New Orleans Police Harass Independent Journalist,” 16 Sept. 2005,
available at]

More than 250,000 immigrants from Mexico and Honduras resided in area
most-affected by Hurricane Katrina. [University of California, Riverside,
“News Release: UCR’s Hurricane Katrina Relief Efforts,” available at]
A volunteer at one of the Texas shelters reported interpreting for four
elderly evacuees who spoke only French. [Washington State University,
“WSU Alum’s Language Skills aid Hurricane Katrina Victims,” 8 Sept.
2005, available at]

Some chapters of the American Red Cross have established “language
banks” to assist with foreign language translations during emergency
situations, such as—

Red Cross Language Banks
  ., Seattle:                             Olympic Peninsula (WA):
  international/ language/index.htm       pages/ Help/Lang.html

   New York:                              Greenwich, CT:             http://www.greenwichredcross.
   viewalljobs.php/T/29                   org/

   Richmond:                              Denver”   http://www.denver-


.Information professionals could work with relief organizations and
establish similar “language banks” to assist with the dissemination of news
to foreign-language-speaking evacuees.

To determine the special language needs of a community, information
professionals could consult the data set, S1601 Language Spoken at
Home, from the most recent “American Community Survey” of the U.S.
           Census Bureau ( The table for New Orleans has been
           reprinted and attached for purposes of illustration.

           Looking at New Orleans, one can see that a total of 11,626 people in the
           area have self-assessed themselves as speaking English less than “very
           well.” Of those individuals, 39.8 percent (4627) speak Spanish or Spanish
           Creole in their homes; 27.3 percent (3174) speak French in their homes;
           and 24 percent (2790) speak French Creole.

C. Resources for Professionals Attending to Needs of Evacuees.

   •   Physicians and other medical personnel

           ►Availability of needed reference materials
           On various librarian listservs during the response to Hurricane Katrina,
           there were requests for basic medical reference materials. Information
           professionals could contact the publishers of needed items, and ask that
           they be donated, or provided at a discounted price, to medical
           professionals at the shelters responding to the disaster. Examples of such
           publications might include the following:

           --The Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy, Rahway, NJ: Merck,
           --The Merck Manual of Medical Information, Whitehouse Station, NJ:
              Merck, 2003
           --PDR: Physician’s Desk Reference, Oradell, NJ: Medical Economics
              Co., 2006-

           ►Access to the Internet
           Planning could also be made between information professionals and
           traditional disaster-response organizations to ensure the availability of
           computer access to medical professionals as well as to evacuees.

  1. To access table S1601, follow these steps: (a) Go to the U.S. Census’ web site at; (b) Click on “Data Access Tools”; (c) Click on “American
FactFinder”; (d) Click on “Data Sets” in the left frame and select “American
Community Survey; (e) Click on link titled “List all Tables”: (f) Select Table S1601
and click the “Next” box; (g) Finally, select the geographic parameters that you want
to research.
        ►Creation of a network of medical librarians
        Finally, a network of medical librarians could be established to provide
        access to materials not readily available on-site.

•   Mental health professionals
      Mental health professionals are often called to the scene of disasters to
      help victims cope with the traumatic events they have experienced. With
      reference to mental health professionals, the following information might
      be useful:

        ►DSM-IV-TR Mental Disorders: Diagnostic, Etiology and Treatment,
         Hoboken, NJ: J. Wiley, 2004-
        ►Treatment manuals regarding disorders such as Post Traumatic Stress
         Disorder, depression, anxiety, and substance abuse
        ►Internet access to journal databases such as PsycArticles

        Again, information professionals could negotiate with the
        publishers/providers of these resources for donations or discounts.

•    Veterinary Professionals
    During Hurricane Katrina, many animal groups organized to rescue the
    companion animals from the areas affected by the disasters. There was a need
    for experienced veterinarians and veterinary technicians. Just as doctors
    treating humans might need to consult reference materials, veterinary
    professionals might also need to consult a reference source to determine the
    best course of treatment for an injured or sick animal. Items such as---

        ►The Merck Veterinary Manual, Rahway, NJ: Merck, 2005-
        ►Access to Medline and other relevant journal article databases

    Again, information professionals could negotiate with publishers and providers
    of these materials.

•    Legal Professionals
    Once evacuees are safe, they will need to think about the next step.
    Recovering from the disaster may involve assistance from government entities
    such as FEMA, or funds from insurance companies with which they have
    coverage. Completing the paperwork is often challenging for many people.
    Furthermore, some insurance companies may deny coverage, and evacuees
    might need the assistance of an attorney to resolve these issues. During the
    response to Hurricane Katrina, members of the Tennessee Bar Association
    volunteered to assist evacuees with legal matters. [“Relief for Hurricane
    Katrina survivors swells; lawyers join together to help.” Tennessee Bar
    Journal (Oct. 2005): 67.] To assist legal professionals, information
           professionals could negotiate with vendors for the provision of needed legal
           reference materials, such as

               ►Insurance law practice manuals relevant to the jurisdiction where the
               disaster occurs.
               ►Access to the internet

           A network of legal librarians could be established to provide resources to
           volunteer attorneys who do not have access to needed computer or print

   D. The Need for Special Librarians

   The following specialties would likely be needed during the response to a natural

       •   Biomedical Librarians: to assist human and animal health care personnel.:
       •   Social Science/Humanities Librarians: to assist professionals dealing with
           mental health and spiritual issues.
       •   Law Librarians: to assist legal professionals.
       •   Librarians with experience in foreign languages: to provide translation
           services to evacuees in their native languages.

   B. Recovery of the Community

After the initial crisis, the community will also need to recover. The public library in the
community can serve as a clearinghouse of needed information. To meet the increased
patron demand, communities affected could solicit volunteers from the larger librarian
community. These volunteers could assist public libraries located in the disaster area
and/or where a large number of evacuees have been relocated.

       •   Helping the general public

           ►Provide and staff “hotlines” to provide patrons with needed information on
           resources such as temporary housing, child care, medical help, and
           psychological counseling.

           ►Provide access to relevant government forms, such as forms for FEMA
           benefits, and provide translators for patrons who have difficulty with English.

           ►Provide updates on environmental health issues, such as water and air

           ►Provide information on salvaging household items.
       ►Host a blood drive at the library’s site.

       ►Organize a collection drive for funds and needed supplies.

       ►Act as a volunteer clearinghouse for patrons who want to help.\

   •   Helping city officials

       ►Provide assistance in researching grant funding

       ►Provide assistance in researching sources of funding from federal and state

       ►Help research how other cities have responded to natural disasters in the

       ►Host “town meetings” to gather input from the community.

       ►Allow city officials to use library facilities to hold meetings and press

[Will, Barbara H.,. “The Public Library as Community Crisis Center.” Library
Journal (Dec. 2001): 75-77.]

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