Florida State aiding public libraries in hurricane preparedness and response
With the arrival of hurricane season on June 1, Florida's public libraries have a vital role to play in helping their communities prepare for and recover from hurricanes and other severe storms. The Florida State University's Information Use Management & Policy Institute at the College of Information has unveiled a new Web site that will help libraries meet the challenge.
The institute is coordinating a project that brings together emergency response agencies, the State Library and Archives of Florida, the Lyrasis library network and Florida's libraries to share resources and hard-won wisdom. The project's Web site, www.ii.fsu.edu/hurricanes, identifies key service roles, best practices, tools and resources that enable better use of the public library in community hurricane preparation and recovery. It includes checklists of steps librarians can take to provide better service to their communities.
"This project offers a great opportunity for Florida public libraries to better demonstrate the range of services and responses they can provide during such disasters," said Francis Eppes Professor Charles R. McClure, director of the Use Management & Policy Institute and the project's primary investigator.
Public libraries currently provide a range of useful hurricane and disaster preparation and recovery services to their communities, but their individual efforts are often isolated and the knowledge gained unavailable to the rest of the library community. There has been no systematic effort to identify the roles, best practices, activities, tools and resources developed by local public libraries for their communities and to make them available to the larger library profession.
Funded by a $311,440 grant from the Florida Catastrophic Storm Risk Management Center at FSU's College of Business, the project is intended to help library staffs in two ways: first, to prepare them for their many roles during a natural disaster; and second, to help them let their communities know about all the services available at libraries. For example:
The institute will continue to provide training, as well as refine and expand the project Web site, throughout the next few months.