Numerous recent disasters have shown that libraries are valuable disaster response partners. After Hurricane Sandy and in the aftermath of tornadoes people flocked to libraries that were not damaged.
Not only can libraries offer information that is crucial to the public and first responders, they can provide services such as air conditioning, bathrooms, and charging stations for phones. Libraries can serve as community meeting places and provide meeting spaces for diverse needs such as disaster response education, communication hubs, resource center for survivors and commodity distribution hubs.
But, libraries can also be impacted by disasters. The American Library Association offers a listing of resources for public, private and school libraries in its “Library Disaster Preparedness & Response” and “Helping United States Libraries After Disasters” webpages. By being prepared, libraries stand ready to help their communities after a disaster.