Disaster Preparedness

I loved this story on NPR about the important role libraries play in a community after a disaster, such as Hurricane Sandy. In Houston we saw this after Hurricane Katrina, when the Houston Public Library established an emergency library at the George R. Brown Convention Center where thousands of Louisiana residents were being housed.  We saw it after Hurricane Ike, when HPL provided emergency day-long programs for kids of all ages so their parents (essential personnel) could go to work getting the city up and running. In addition, after Hurricane Ike, computer labs were converted into FEMA application centers where librarians gave one-on-one assistance to people applying for emergency aid. And so much more.

Libraries do so much more than most people think, and this is just one example of an essential role that’s overlooked: disaster recovery.

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Recommended reading:


Free tools available for September’s Library Card Sign-up Month

The American Library Association has released tools to help promote Library Card Sign-Up Month throughout September. Even though we’re into the second week of the month, you still have time to download some of the tools and do some promotion.

Celebrate Library Card Sign-up Month with new downloadable tools and public service announcements (PSAs).

Sample media tools are available to remind the public of all the resources available for free with a library card. Tools include a sample press release, op-ed, proclamation, PSA scripts and radio quality PSAs.

To download free promotional materials, visit

Also in celebration of Library Card Sign-up Month, a new slideshow featuring “60 Ways to Use Your Library Card” is now available on Librarians are encouraged to embed the slideshow, which scrolls through examples like “Learn how to write a business plan” and “Get help with homework,” on their own websites or blogs.


2013.09 Library Card sign up LDeng_PSA_336x280


what is your library doing for Library Card Sign-up Month?

September is Library Card Sign-up Month. Many libraries throughout the country are using this month to encourage customers to sign up or renew their accounts for library cards.

I will be looking to see what interesting campaigns are out there, encouraging library card sign ups. Please let me know if your library is doing anything unique and different.

More about Library Card Sign-up Month, from ALA News (reported by American Libraries):

Sign up for the smartest card of all – a library card


This year’s celebration takes place at a time when the decade-long trend of increased library usage is not only continuing, but accelerating during the current economic downturn, according to the 2010 Harris Interactive poll.

The poll also indicates that more than 70 percent of Americans feel that public libraries play an important role in giving everyone a chance to succeed by providing free access to material and resources. In fact, as of 2009, 80 percent of libraries offer free homework help to students in their communities, and almost all public libraries (99.1 percent) provide free Internet access. In addition, 71 percent of those libraries provide the only free public access point to the Internet in their communities.

The library also offers a wide range of tools for adults looking to learn new skills. A vast majority of public libraries help patrons complete online job applications (67 percent); provide access to job databases and other online resources (88 percent) and civil service exam materials (75 percent); and offer software or other resources (69 percent) to help patrons create resumes and other employment materials.

Libraries looking for materials to help promote Library Card Sign-up Month locally can download print and audio PSAs featuring NBA star and Library Card Sign-up Month Honorary Chair Dwyane Wade. ALA will customize the print PSA at no charge with a library’s logo. For information and to download PSAs visit

Newly redesigned Smartest Card logos are available at Other promotional materials, including a sample press release, letter to the editor and proclamation are also available on the website.

The Campaign for America’s Libraries, ( is ALA’s public awareness campaign that promotes the value of libraries and librarians. Thousands of libraries of all types – across the country and around the globe – use the Campaign’s @ your library® brand. The Campaign is made possible by ALA’s Library Champions, corporations and foundations.

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