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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:

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NPR story on Digital Public Library of America

NPR has a great story about the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA). What is the DPLA?

The Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) brings together the riches of America’s libraries, archives, and museums, and makes them freely available to the world. It strives to contain the full breadth of human expression, from the written word, to works of art and culture, to records of America’s heritage, to the efforts and data of science. The DPLA aims to expand this crucial realm of openly available materials, and make those riches more easily discovered and more widely usable and used.

From the NPR story:

Right now, there are only about 4 million items on the DPLA’s site, but the collection is growing by about 500,000 new books and documents each month as more libraries from around the country come onboard.

Want to get involved? They have more info on the DPLA site.

By the way, this is what I found when searching Houston: click here!

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We’re in NPR’s gaming article!

One of my librarians, Sandy Farmer, was recently included in a story NPR did on gaming in the library. I’m a little bit geeked out about it.

Sandy Farmer is the manager of Central Youth Services for the Houston Public Library, which has four Nintendo Wiis, four Xboxes, several Nintendo DSs, some iPads, seven PlayStations and a few big-screen TVs.

“It’s a primary part of our service that we offer, and it results in a 15- to 20-percent increase in the circulation of books,” Farmer says.

In other words, more video games in the library means more books getting checked out.

“The kids and the teens spend more time here,” Farmer says. “Families come — their parents have things to do on the computers, because a lot of the families don’t have computer access at home, so the kids have some things to do and while they’re here. They find out, ‘There’s Superman. I can read Superman.’ “

and further in the story

Farmer, of the Houston Public Library, agrees.

“I have a room full of teenage boys that are happy, and the library is the coolest place they know,” she says. “And video games are a part of that.”

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