OPAL for LOGIN Meeting Report

Project OPAL (One Page All Libraries) was the topic of discussion at last Friday’s LOGINCAM00329 (2) meeting at the public library in West Deptford, New Jersey.  The keynote presenter was Dan Wilson, Coordinator for the NN/LM Emergency Preparedness & Response Initiative.  The meeting started with a greeting from Anne Wodnick, President of LOGIN, follow by comments from Taft Barnet, of the American Red Cross, and Michele Stricker from the New Jersey State Library.

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Michele Stricker from the New Jersey State Library.

Mr. Wilson provided the group with a background of the NN/LM Emergency Preparedness & Response Initiative, as well as the progress public libraries in New Jersey have made since last spring’s Ports in a Storm conference in Eatontown, New Jersey.

He impressed on the need for each library to develop response procedures and to regularly drill staff in order to effectively react to unplanned disasters, something he termed holding the fort.  A library’s mettle, he said, is tested in this arena and it’s essential that all libraries beef up their readiness capabilities in this area. Mr. Wilson used the following questions that libraries can ask themselves to determine their preparedness level:

•Someone approaches the desk and reports that someone with a gun is approaching the library
•A tornado warning is issued for your area
•Earthquake!
•A train crashes nearby and leaking chlorine gas
The second part of his presentation was titled Unity for the Community, which focused on comments made by emergency planners at recent NN/LM EP&R summit meetings about the potential value of libraries.  He concluded this section with a quote from Verna Brown, W DeptfordOPAL9emergency planner in Hagerstown, Maryland:
If you want to be part of this, we would love to have you.  Can you enhance us?  Yes you can.  And we can enhance you as well.  One attendee mentioned that a library they once worked at offered its facility as a shelter.  Unfortunately, the library was overwhelmed by the experience and it was unlikely that they would make the offer again.  Mr. Wilson stated that this is and example of the importance

LOGIN attendees with their complimentary Red Cross emergency radios.

LOGIN attendees with their complimentary Red Cross emergency radios. Photo credit: Michele Stricker

of creating a very clear MOU with emergency planners.  The MOU will clearly state what the library is capable of providing to the community, along with actions to be taken to avoid stress on library staff and strain on library resources.

For the last part of his presentation, he showed the group how disaster response might look to a library with greater readiness capabilities using a table-top exercise that featured a major winter storm.

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