What can libraries do during a crisis?

A recent tweet I just saw from ALA Library twitter account made me think of what libraries can do during moments of crisis, such as the earthquake and subsequent tsunami in Japan.

In moments of crises, what can libraries do to help their communities? There is the physical help they can offer, by having their libraries open for people to use them as shelter. Of course, this only works if the building itself isn’t damaged.

What else can we offer? How about information, seeing as how we are librarians. We can be a source of information for people who are lost, we can offer advice on rebuilding, we can offer simple first aid tips and manuals.

But I think the most important thing we can offer is distraction. We can stay open for people to check out books, movies, magazines, anything. We can host events for kids. We can be a resource for the community.

What do you think? What else can libraries do?

@ALALibrary – No damage to Japanese libraries

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