Library Service to the Community in a Natural Disaster

WHEREAS, Libraries provide critical information for their communities throughout the year; and

WHEREAS, Libraries serve as centers of the community, providing access to technology and print resources, as well as welcoming residents and visitors for educational, informational and leisure pursuits; and

WHEREAS, When Superstorm Sandy arrived in the northeast in October 2012 and Hurricane Irene in 2011, communities throughout New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Vermont were severely affected, experiencing severe flooding, destruction of property and long term disruption of internet access and electrical power; and

WHEREAS, Many residents of these areas were isolated without access to electrical power, internet access, heat or important information about storm relief and recovery efforts; and

WHEREAS, Many libraries, even if in areas affected by the storm were able to serve as gathering centers for their community, providing information, a warm location, a place to recharge cell phones and access to Wi-Fi and internet; and

WHEREAS, These libraries increased their efforts to serve their communities, by extending hours, increasing staff presence, scheduling special programs, providing resources to shelters and even by simply adding multiple power strips for recharging purposes; and

WHEREAS, Library support staff such as maintenance and custodial workers responded to the needs of their community in an emergency situation, by ensuring that generators had fuel, ensuring safety in buildings that were affected, and working overtime to ensure that facilities could be opened as soon as possible after the storms; and

WHEREAS, These libraries clearly demonstrated that a library serves as the center of the community and can go beyond traditional roles to meet the immediate needs of the residents of a community; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the New York Library Association on behalf of its members, recognizes the significant contributions of libraries and library staff who have provided effective emergency response/recovery services, and responded to the needs of their communities following hurricanes Sandy and Irene in ways that go above and beyond the regular call of duty; and be it further

RESOLVED, That the New York Library Association continues to encourage libraries to continue research documenting library needs and capacity to provide effective e-government and emergency response/recovery services as an essential part of library missions.

Adopted by NYLA Council
June 20, 2013