Posted by: bluesyemre | November 11, 2015

The role of #libraries in times of crisis by Nick Poole @NickPoole1


Libraries support their communities in many different ways. Whether through times of humanitarian or political crisis, civil unrest or even the personal crises that affect all of us, libraries can be places of comfort, safety, reconciliation and hope.

Ivy Noelle Weir describes what happened when an ice stormed knocked out power to a swathe of people and by chance the library kept power and heat:

“Soon, we were crowded with people who might never have otherwise set foot in the library. As the days without power or heat dragged on, we saw people who previously may never have interacted crowding together, laughing and talking as they charged their phones and checked their email. I ran around town to whatever shops were open to collect power strips, extension cords, and a few urns of coffee and hot cocoa. I worked with local disaster relief agencies to direct people to warm shelters and relayed information on when power was going to be restored. We served our community. ”

From the courageous decision of Ferguson Municipal Library to remain open in the wake of the riots there to the urgent effort at Baghdad National Library to digitise and protect their collections in the face of ISIL, the media abounds with stories of the fortitude of libraries in the face of humanitarian and civil crises.

Crisis is a natural part of the human experience. In this blog, we explore the reasons why so many people turn to their library during times of crisis and the different types of support which our libraries can offer. In so doing, we offer a conceptual model of the different roles of libraries during times of crisis on a scale from the personal to the global.

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