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When disaster strikes, where do you go? After Super Storm Sandy hit New Jersey and New York in late October 2012, people went to their local library. Many community libraries were pressed into service as ad hoc Disaster Recovery Centers, and were in the forefront of providing services and information to those in need, often times working alongside of first responders.
Residents flocked to their local libraries the morning after the storm to access computers, use the free wireless to conduct business or work from “home;” to contact relatives or their insurance companies; find tree removal specialists; fill out FEMA forms; or just to power up their devices, warm up and have a cup of coffee. Libraries truly served their communities as ports in a storm, even though many were not prepared so serve in this capacity.
Ports in the Storm: The Library as Community Disaster Recovery Center was presented at a disaster planning & recovery summit in New Jersey on April 8, 2013, and at the ALA Annual Conference in Chicago on June 28, 2013. This presentation will help to prepare your library and staff to step up into the role of a community Disaster Recovery Center. You will learn how to work with your local emergency responders and to provide resources to your community in times of greatest need.